The more than 300 metres of stolen paving bricks with which pathways were paved in the new Albert Luthuli residential area at Extension 13 will not be replaced with the same product again due to the high costs involved. The Municipality will instead look at resurfacing the paths with another product, which is cheaper and less prone to vandalism and theft.
“The pathways were paved to make the area attractive and to help instil a sense of pride amongst the residents but large sections of the pathways were unfortunately vandalised. To replace the bricks is not only expensive but funds that could be used for service delivery elsewhere in the community must now be channelled towards the repair of these walkways.
“The Municipality has consequently decided to replace the stolen bricks with a cheaper alternative, which is less prone to theft and vandalism. The Municipality furthermore has to go through a formal budgeting process in this regard. It could therefore take a considerable amount of time before the work can be done“, says the Executive Mayor, Alderlady Ferreira.
She said the theft of paving bricks also occurred in other areas. This has caused the Municipality to reconsider the use of paving bricks to repair vandalised pathways where this occurs on such a large scale.
“The bricks are apparently stolen to pave yards and build paths in front of houses, but the Police told the Municipality that unless it can prove that the bricks belong to it, it is impossible to prove the theft. This is unfortunately almost impossible as the bricks are not marked.
“It is sad that some individuals deprive other members of their community from living in better conditions. In this particular residential development much effort has gone into making it more attractive for the residents. Besides the paved walkways the houses were also painted in pastel colours to beautify the area,” said Alderlady Ferreira.
She says that vandalism is generally a huge problem, which is costing the ratepayers and the community a lot of money annually. However, to catch the culprits and prove a case against them is very difficult without the co-operation of the community.
“Even the theft of a paving brick is a crime and the Municipality appeals to members of the public to come forward with evidence that can lead to the arrest of the transgressors. They are in effect stealing from the whole community of Mossel Bay who finances such infrastructure through the rates and services tariffs they have to pay,” said the Mayor.
The value of the paving bricks that were removed illegally in Albert Luthuli Park is estimated at R130 000.