Guess what: cutting the sidewalk is not the City’s responsibility

Allen Hobson mows grass in his community.

With the responsibility of grass cutting now at the feet of Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo, the entity is appealing to communities to maintain sidewalks adjacent to their homes, a policy already in place that makes residents responsible for this task.

“This will go a long way towards alleviating some of the pressures of timeous delivery, and will allow the greening entity to focus on parks, cemeteries and street trees that require more specialised maintenance services,” City Parks spokesperson, Jenny Moodley said.

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo, the custodian of the City’s parks, street trees, conservation areas and cemeteries is appealing for patience from residents as it resolves its seasonal backlogs. Moodley agreed that this backlog is known ahead of time and said that the resource planning strategy involving contractors need to be looked at to allow for a one-stop service when it comes to cutting the city’s grass.

But the responsibility of cutting grass in public spaces and on pavements adjacent to commercial properties, schools or hospitals will now be the sole responsibility of City Parks. Johannesburg Roads Agency, City Power, Johannesburg Water or Environmental Health will no longer be responsible for grass cutting. This additional responsibility has also had an affect on the backlog, Moodley said.

Read: Councillor’s corner: Long grass, untidy pavements

MMC for Comunity Development Nonhlanhla Sifumba, said summer rains significantly impact on the greening entity’s ability to deliver services at an optimum level. “This is largely due to the warm and wet weather which accelerates the rate of growth of long grass, shrubs and trees… [and impacts] work schedules as employees are not authorised to operate machinery in the rain, and hinders contractors as it is not cost effective to commission work in the intermittent rain,” she said.

Sifumba also listed operator downtime, increase in time maintaining open spaces, increase in tree pruning requests and an increase in users of parks.

Earlier this year, R4 million was set aside by the Johannesburg Roads Agency, which used to be responsible for cutting grass on sidewalks that are not adjacent to residential properties, but Moodley said this is nearly exhausted. “This was set aside for grass cutting on main arterial roads and roads leading to main arterials. But JRA has set aside a second bulk amount to continue,” she said.

Joburgers have been inconvenienced by tall grass next to main arterial roads, parks and open spaces since the start of the year. This has become commonplace every year with residents calling in with photos and complaints, asking the City to sort out the problem. Tell us about your experiences by sending an email to chantellef@caxton.co.za.

Details: Requests for service delivery can be directed to 011 3755555; jcp@jhbcityparks.com

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