Boom time for Sandton has motorists outraged.

Posted On Friday, 25 October 2002 02:00 Published by
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Infuriated motorists have lashed out at 'arrogant' Sandhurst residents who have taken the law into their own hands and illegally closed off streets, causing huge traffic disruptions.
Infuriated motorists have lashed out at 'arrogant' Sandhurst residents who have taken the law into their own hands and illegally closed off streets, causing huge traffic disruptions.

The illegal closures were done several weeks ago but this week a number of other roads were randomly closed without notice - resulting in queues of motorists trying to reverse or make a U-turn out of the enclosure.

Said one motorist: 'The message being given to the public is that they can snub the law and do what they like and simply barricade public roads without permission. Why is the council not acting? Is it afraid because rich people live there?'

Another said he was considering starting a petition demanding that the barricades be taken down.

'The arrogance of these residents is mind-boggling'
'The roads that have been closed are not just small suburban roads. They are major thoroughfares and the traffic is now starting to build up on neighbouring roads. The arrogance of these residents is mind-boggling,' he said.

The Sandhurst Heritage Association, which has carried out the illegal closures, has closed ranks and is refusing to speak about the matter.

A woman who answered the association's phone, told Saturday Star to phone their attorney, Gary Duke, who had not returned our calls at the time of going to press.

Meanwhile, the City of Johannesburg has applied for an urgent interdict to remove the barricades but the Johannesburg High Court found that the matter was not urgent.

City spokesperson Nthatisi Modingoane, said the attorneys were now finalising court papers to have the barricades removed.

The move follows hundreds of other illegal road closures throughout the city which are causing traffic havoc.

Tardiness by the city is at the heart of the the road closure issue in the suburbs.

In fact, no road closure applications have been considered since December 2000 because the city has been drawing up a new policy and this dragging of heels has resulted in hundreds of frustrated and impatient residents illegally closing off roads to control crime.

The city has removed barriers and opened closures in the past 15 months only when there have been complaints from residents.

Now, however, the City of Johannesburg says it hopes to have a new road closure policy in place by next month and this could result in more than 500 roads being forced to reopen to traffic.

All existing closures and all pending applications will have to be re-examined in terms of the new policy which would also set out procedures for legalising illegal closures. If they do not comply, they will be forced to reopen .

There is no figure available for the number of illegal road closures but the city has 547 applications pending, most of which have already been set up.

In a recent case, Oaklands residents, tired of waiting for the new policy, applied for and won an application in the Johannesburg High Court to force the city to make a decision about road closures in the area. However, after consideration, the city turned down the application.

Publisher: Saterday Star
Source: Anna Cox

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