Petingo Peoples Park

Mr Michael Small

Petingo Peoples Park
83 Major Calvert Street

9 September 2020


Committed neighbors working together making benches from wooden palettes

My name is Vanessa Fynn Wildey, I am one of the neighbours of Major Calvert Street/Petingo, who has been residing in Major Calvert Street for the past 40 years. I recall Mr Michael Small and his family up Petingo Road, our Seniors being Benjy Roskruge,Kenneth Jacobs, Freda Jacky Genkins, Rods King, Antoinette Martins and the younger married neighbours Bradley Charles, Owen Fanam, Cynthia Palmer, Charlie Palmer, Benny Palmer, Gail Martins, her daughter Kelly Martins, neighbours up Petingo Road (all Home Owners) and the Major Calverts Street flats neighbours who are our Seniors Aunty Joyce Fynn, Aunty Eleanor, Uncle Pat and Aunty Julie Lupke and middle age Vanessa Carter being our neighbours for over 38 years and our new neighbours Deon and Irene Amos, Mr Des Dsa and many more neighbours.

This is how the vacant land has been for years

Living and growing up as a child in Major Calvert Street, Residents of Major Calvert Street, Petingo, Woodville Road and Hime Street including myself used to walk for years to Ogle Road grounds which was/is about 1.5km from our residence to train i.e. Soccer, Long Distance Running, Swimming and Hockey whilst the ground across our road remained vacant. Children played on the road and had to continuously watch for vehicles approaching them (so all the children could not play together they had to have to scouts watching for approaching vehicles). My cousin Denzil had come to Durban to our home on vacation from Mtwalume in the long December holidays and had to play on the road,one day whilst playing on the road (without a scout) he was run over by a vehicle, he sustained bad injuries and recovered after a very long time. I also witnessed children play ball & tennis on the road and the one child was run over by an Educator who had to be assisted as she was in a bad state of shock. There were drivers who would stop their vehicles and shout or curse at the children for playing on the road which to this day still happens.

Completed benches

Where must our children play? There is vacant land and no one to assist in making the vacant land and place for the kids to play but instead wanted to build houses and allow us to live on top of one another and cause more crime living on top of one another. We spoke about a Park but our cries fell on deaf ears or maybe we did not cry loud enough. In 2011 or before then, Mr Michael Small approached the eThekwini Parks Board and had been liaising with them through letters, phone calls etc.(evidence in file) and nothing materialised.

Neighbors got together and pledged funds towards fencing

In 2011 or before then, Mr Michael Small approached the eThekwini Parks Board and had been liaising with them through letters, phone calls etc.(evidence in file) and nothing materialised. One day Mr Michael Small managed to secure a meeting with Miss Greta Applegreen of which over 60 residents attended that meeting. Mr Michael Small had invited the Counsellor of Austerville Mr Aubrey Snyman to attend that meeting as a witness, it was there that Mr Michael Small again spoke on behalf of the Major Calvert/Petingo residents about a Park and that we the residents of Major Calvert/Petingo were willing to come together as neighbours and work together by pledging monies, raising funds and doing everything possible to make a safe environment playing area for our children and that was to utilise the vacant space at the corner of Petingo/Major Calvert a park for our children.

Men cleaning the vacant area

Miss Applegreen was Human Resource Manager of Human Settlement at that time and claimed that the vacant space belonged to Human Settlement and that she would assist us by pledging R100000 for us to upgrade the vacant space to a Park as we wanted this park badly for our kids that are were and currently playing on the unsafe road as vehicles speed, drive by shootings take place etc.

Cleaning campaign of the vacant area

With all of the above been said, this is how it all began. We as Major Calvert Street/ Petingo neighbours have come together and decided that we will do something on our own to make this vacant space a safe place i.e. a PARK for our children to be safe and play safely, we have involved our Counsellor Mr Aubrey Snyman who has agreed and is standing by our side including Mr Des Dsa the Environmentalist of the Durban South Basin who really initiated this project and has given us courage and confidence in moving forward with this project. Mr Des Dsa hired someone to cut the grass at the Petingo/ Major Calvert vacant area and ensured that it was constantly maintained. Then the men of Petingo/Major Calvert with Mr Des Dsa grass cutter guy started removing broken bottles, bricks, small stones, raking, piling the grass, burning the grass by having little controlled fires and the men talking and coming up with innovative ideas.

Neighbors meeting with Mr Des Dsa (environmentalist)

We had our first meeting Mid-July 2020 and then another meeting together as neighbours, we contributed out of our pockets and given our time to start this project rolling by fencing, planting, the unemployed neighbours planted vegetables, cut the grass, raked, kept the vacant space clean and we have neighbours watching at all times i.e. Neighbourhood Watching. We as neighbours from old and young contributed again for other stuff that was required and also some neighbours came up with innovative ideas where they made benches out of wooden palettes and painted them for the Park. As you will see all the evidence in the pictures.

Bradley Charles showing the clean area that included cutting of grass funded by Mr Des Dsa

We continued with our weekly meetings where the Counsellor Mr Snyman ensured that he was in attendance of which he suggested that we meet with the eThekwini Parks Board as there were questions that we confronted him with and he was unable to answer. Mr Snyman set up a meeting with eThekwini Parks Board and we met with them in the vacant area/park. They were extremely impressed with what we showed and spoke to them about and are willing to assist in ever possible way but their hands are tied as they are not responsible for the vacant land as it is not their jurisdiction and that the vacant space belonged to Roads. They however have promised to assist and find out if Roads could come on board and transfer the vacant space to Parks Board so that they can assist the people of Petingo/Major Calvert Street to make the vacant spot a Park and contribute all necessities required for a Park.

Slu and her crew from Parks board was invited by Councillor Aubrey Snyman to come and see the development

My name is Owan Fanham and I recall as a youth playing in the park many years back when one day bulldozers pulled out of the blues and ripped out the fruit trees that grew in the park amongst other trees and natural vegetation, My neighbour Mr Roskrudge son also re calls when they set up goal posts the municipality one day came and bulldozed these posts and asked them to leave the premises .these actions have left many scars and traumatizing memories in the hearts of these now grown adults.

What a Transformation-Not yet complete but getting there

In Conclusion Crime statistics in our area has reached its peak due to lack of recreational facility for our future generations and we have been instructed by the Parks Department and Ward CLR to apply for the Rezoning bringing us back to where we started as the original application has been mis-laid and cannot be allocated both hard copies and electronic, However we as the Petingo Park committee , the Rate Payers Association, Durban South Environment community Alliance and Petingo Park Youth committee request immediate transfer of the open space from roads to parks and recreation to avoid a further 2 year set back as we been promised Upgrade of the park over the past few years and without this happening we cannot receive any infrastructure namely toilets ,which are much needed for the kids playing in the park as well as Playground equipment, Outdoor Gym, Walking Tracks etc.

Sitting area of the park
Mr Benny Palmer showing his commitment
Meeting held on 6 August 2020 with Slu & her crew from Parks Board including Councillor Aubrey Snyman

yours sincerely

Petingo Peoples Park (committee)

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