In what is regarded as a victory that makes Pretoria's suburbs safe from crime, the Pretoria High Court on Tuesday gave the go-ahead for residents of Brunaly Park to erect access restriction structures with immediate effect.
Brunaly Park is situated in Brummeria next to the N4 in Pretoria East.
The residents have been battling for more than four years with the Tshwane Metro Council to obtain permission for restricted access to their suburb.
They had submitted their applications years ago, paid their fees and adhered to all the conditions attached to such an application, yet they received no feedback from the municipality.
The residents were part of 67 applications in this regard which were submitted to the council more than four years ago.
Jan Malan of the organisation Streetsafe - which fights to have controlled access to crime-ridden areas - said the municipal does not act on applications while the residents have to try and safeguard their suburbs.
"Tuesday's judgment was a breakthrough for all the suburbs which want to erect controlled access," said Malan.
He said in terms of the law, residents are entitled to apply for controlled access and the council has to consider if they had proved that they had tried everything to curb crime. The residents turned to court out of desperation.
The municipality, which has remained mum on the subject for years did not defend Tuesday's court action.
"The court has now acted and this will pave the way for others in the same position. It is a breakthrough and it is reassuring that the judiciary is independent and that a person can turn to the courts," Malan said.
He added that council officials did their jobs and even the police gave the green light for the suburbs to be closed.
The problem, he said, lay with the politicians who are against access control. Some of the reasons forwarded are that access control is "a new form of segregation" and that it affects traffic flow.
Malan said the police were happy with access control as it helped them to curb crime.
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