West Park residents are fighting the introduction of a gate biometric system. Picture: Supplied
West Park residents are fighting the introduction of a gate biometric system. Picture: Supplied

West Park residents fear they will get coronavirus from biometric access system

By Liam Ngobeni Time of article published Feb 15, 2021

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Pretoria’s West Park residents are fighting a biometric system which has been introduced to access the estate, citing safety concerns.

Concerned residents have formed a committee to fight the system they say is risky and leaves them vulnerable to coronavirus infection.

Speaking to the Pretoria News, one of the residents said they had been sent a notice to register for the biometric system to be able to use the entrance gate, which would see them use their finger to press buttons to gain access.

Those who did not would have their right to access the estate revoked.

This has been met with staunch opposition by the residents.

“In a petition with all our signatures we raised our issues, especially about the pandemic. How can over 2 000 residents – children mostly as we have a lot of families – use a biometric system during this time?

“It is a big risk, and we are already in an area considered a hot spot,” one resident said.

Asking that her name not be mentioned, she said she was also worried about her young children who would be returning to school today.

“Parents will obviously worry… some of us are at work when our children return home and we cannot monitor them. What if they press (the access button) and get the coronavirus, only to pass it on to us to take it to work?

“Children can touch the system and not sanitise… an adult can come back from work with the coronavirus unknowingly… but our concerns fall on deaf ears.”

She said two residents had died of Covid-19 and there had also been other cases, which should be reason enough to halt this biometric system until the pandemic was over.

Another resident with a wife and two children said the system was being forced on to them without consideration for their concerns. “I have not even seen them sanitise or clean stair railings; lifts have no sanitiser stand despite being used by many people. Who is to say we are not infecting each other already? There is very little compliance here.

“Why introduce this now when other places have stopped it over the risk posed? Where they exist one just has to hover their hand over it to gain access, but this one requires you to press it.”

He said their sanitisers were placed inside the gate instead of next to the system: “So one has to press first, enter, and only then sanitise. Some people just pass the sanitiser stand and not use it.”

Another resident said she sometimes worked at night. Having to spend time trying to access the gate made her feel unsafe as there had been hijackings in the area.

Gustav Holtzhausen from iThemba property management said there were channels to ventilate issues and they were willing to listen to residents’ grievances. They acknowledged the problems and said they had also been battling with the gate access system for months. “Heightened levels of crime also informed this decision, as the economy is under pressure and criminals have taken advantage of that.”

Pretoria News

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