Now even the president has boom gates

President Thabo Mbeki, a critic of boom gates, will soon be living in a gated community himself, News24 reported on Monday.

The Tshwane metro council has approved an application for the closure of a number of streets in Bryntirion, the governmental suburb that has been home to the president, members of the Cabinet and other important officials since the early 1900s.

Nassau Street, George Washington Boulevard, the Rotunda, Wenlock Road, Colroyn Road and Rothsay Road will all be closed permanently, according to a mayoral committee report dealing with the application.

Perimeter fencing will surround the suburb and access will be controlled at a limited number of points.

The streets will also be rezoned and transferred to the department of public works’ jurisdiction.

The Tshwane metro council has been sharply divided on the subject of gated villages since a wave of applications for street closures in the city’s formerly white suburbs started piling up in metro council offices a few years ago.

The African National Congress-controlled metro council, sensitive to criticism that booms entrench white privilege, has handled them with caution.

According to the mayoral report, the public works department is in the process of composing a master plan for the whole Bryntirion area, which comprises residential properties, farms, offices, a police station and a golf course.

This master plan “serves to guide and facilitate future development on the estate and primarily focuses on security, accommodation needs and the upgrading of existing facilities”.

Mbeki has criticised the proliferation of boomed suburbs and golf estates for perpetuating residential apartheid.

Mbeki’s pronouncements on this matter included a statement that said: “We have ... an urgent challenge of bringing to a stop the pro-rich housing development strategies that ensure that the best-located land, close to all the best facilities, is always available to the rich.”

He asserted that the best land is reserved for the creation of gated communities and golf estates.

The president said the poor are stuck on dusty, semi-developed land, which is far from modern infrastructure, News24 reported.—Sapa

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