Durban - The eThekwini Parks and Gardens department said vandalism of its assets in public places is costing them dearly.
The department was responding to pleas from the Chatsworth residents to upgrade and repair the ablution facilities at the Woodhurst Park along Star Street opposite Parkview Primary School.
Suren Ganapathie, who represents Woodhurst Crime Watch, Star Street Crime Watch and Chatsworth Safety Alert, described the ablution block as deplorable.
The park is well utilised on weekends but Ganapathie said the condition of the toilet was shocking. Vandals had stolen pipes, doors, wash basins and urinals.
He said women found it difficult to use the toilets.
Ethekwini Municipality’s Spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said at times these facilities are vandalised two to three times in a financial year.
“The average cost per claim if all plumbing are stolen and damage to the doors, gates, wash basins and toilet cisterns can amount up to approximately R150 000 to R200 000,”he said.
Ganapathie said the facility should have a security guard and locked at certain times.
Mayisela said the department is currently investigating rolling out the system of park activators.
“These would be members of the local community which are paid a stipend to undertake the care of the facility.”he said.
Mayisela said the intention was to repair and restore the facility to a functional state through the process of an insurance claim. Once the claim is processed and approved, the repairs will be effected via the Architectural Department.
“The Municipality cannot deploy security guards as it is not feasible owing to financial implications. Currently, the department does have an agreement with the local Civic Association who patrol the area during the night. Metro Police also patrols the area daily,”Mayisela said.