Substance abuse and crime in Kenneth Gardens by Mike Chili

It’s a Tuesday afternoon on the 15th of October 2013 the interviewer is having a discussion with a very concerned community member of Kenneth Gardens complex in Umbilo. Mike moved into Kenneth Gardens in 2001. When he first came here he loved the placed and was pleased that he has his own place which is close to schools, town, shops and many other places which makes one’s life to be at ease.

The condition of the area was satisfactory when he first came in the place, but now things have changed because of the on-going crime and substance abuse taking place in Kenneth Gardens.
This is a great concern to Mike as he has children that he does not want to see being affected by crime and substance abuse. Mostly the area is dominated by alcohol abuse, drug use and dealing, the most known drugs that are destroying the area are marijuana and whoonga since most of them are used by the youth of Kenneth Gardens.

Criminal activities also play a role in the deteriorating state of Kenneth Gardens, house break-inns and car theft being the top of the list. There is no security whatsoever things like fence around the block with lockable gates in Kenneth Gardens which makes the complex a target for culprits.
The complex itself is not in a good condition, not properly maintained as some flats are leaking; paint and cement is pealing off from the buildings and most of the wooden floors inside the flats are old. The state of Kenneth Gardens currently is very poor, even though we pay rent every month yet we are not well received or get proper service delivery from city council.

Kenneth Gardens can still be a good place if the security can be upgraded by putting up fence and have proper lockable gates/ access control, as it is very easy for anybody (culprits) to enter the place and do whatever they want in Kenneth Gardens, also developmental programs for the youth such as sports and employment of young people. This will help the youth of Kenneth Gardens not to be involved in substance abuse. There is also a need of a central place in the complex to report any kind of foul play happening in the complex, because at the moment if you wish to report any wrong doing, you will have to take a taxi to town and report at City Council. The police take their time to attend to a case reported so it’s not conducive to inform the Umbilo SAPS.

I will continue staying in Kenneth Gardens and I would be happy if the authorities responsible for taking care of this complex to maintain the place, beef up the security and have good communication with the people residing in Kenneth Gardens. The Umbilo SAPS must also work hand in hand with the community of Kenneth Gardens, there should be a very good communication between the two bodies.

Article by: Mr S.M.
Click here to listen to the interview

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