Manenberg parents are up in arms after a tikkop allegedly set fire to a children’s playpark after an argument with another drug addict, causing R400 000 worth of damages.
Residents living near the park, which is situated at the Manenberg Swimming Pool, say they got a skrik last week when they saw large clouds of black smoke emanating from the park and rushed to see what was happening.
Elizabeth Hendricks of the Letaba Neighbourhood Watch says the incident happened on Thursday shortly before 11am.
“We just got off patrols and I saw all the smoke and we all thought someone’s house was burning and so we ran there,” she says.
“When we arrived, we found the jungle gym on fire, started by a tikkop who lives in Manenberg.
“She was arguing with another tikkop who sleeps in the park and it got so out of hand that she took the other woman’s clothes and bedding and set it on fire. She even used a tyre to make the fire bigger.”
Elizabeth says they called firefighters to the scene and the fire was extinguished.
“The parents are very upset because now our children have no place to play.
“Our children don’t really have anything in this area and now the tikkop ruins the park.
“This park is also used by elderly residents who enjoy sitting under the trees and taking walks.
“We are upset because the City is planning to upgrade the park and we don’t know what will happen now.”
Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson, Jermaine Carelse, says firefighters found rubbish alight under the wooden jungle gym.
“The fire was brought under control at 1.34pm and no injuries were reported,” he says.
Mayco member for Community Services and Health, Zahid Badroodien, says the fire destroyed the grass, three trees, a wooden piece of play equipment and the rubber mat underneath the jungle gym.
“The total value of the damages is approximately R400 000. The department does not have the budget needed to replace/reinstate vandalised facilities at this time,” he says.
Badroodien confirms there are plans to upgrade the park and says the City is in the process of appointing new contractors: “The project includes upgrades to park equipment, the installation of rubber mats in and around play areas and paving, upgrade to concrete park equipment, street furniture, fencing and electrical upgrades.”