Bust open the gates, it’s party time

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GK CRONJE

12 October 2021

Parts of the Pet Dam’s fence have also been damaged, and the smaller gates have been removed, rendering the fence moot.

Suzuki Ermelo (WEB) 22 September 2020.jp

Little more than a year ago, numerous complaints regarding the Pet Dam, and residents who swarmed to the site daily in order to get the party started, led to the implementation of drastic measures, which had been forcibly implemented by Msukaligwa Local Municipality (MLM). In a show of force to residents who use the dam as a party site, and who pay no heed to social distancing and COVID-19 regulations, MLM had issued a closure notice of the Pet Dam. According to MLM, it stated at the time that an increase in COVID-19 cases was the reason for the closure, and that the Local Command Council (LCC) has made the decision. A lack of law enforcement, and the nonchalant attitude of residents, has led to the inevitable point of lawfulness. Even though the lockdown restrictions have eased to adjusted National Alert Level 1, the law set forth by government is clear in this respect. The regulations, as gazetted, states that all citizens must, when in a public place, wear a face mask. Every person, when attending a gathering, and in order to limit exposure to COVID-19 must wear a face mask, adhere to all health protocols, maintain a distance of least one and a half meters from each other; and adhere to any other health protocols and social distancing measures.

An enforcement officer must, where a gathering in contravention of the regulations takes place, order the persons at the gathering to disperse immediately, and if the persons refuse to disperse, take appropriate action, which may, subject to the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No. 51 of 1977), include the arrest and detention of any person at the gathering. In essence, none of the regulations are followed at the Pet Dam and surrounding areas, including the Sport Inn, where residents opted to occupy since the closure of the Pet Dam. The Sport Inn parking lot is left in shambles, littered with empty liquor bottles and other manner of refuse. Parts of the Pet Dam’s fence have also been damaged, and the smaller gates have been removed, rendering the fence moot. Upon announcement of the closure in 2020, Mandla Zwane, MLM spokesman, stated that the Pet Dam’s gates would be locked to prevent access, and that a security detail would patrol the area of the Pet Dam to ensure compliance from defiant residents. To no surprise, the slated “security detail” is, and had been nowhere to be seen.

More recently, residents looking for a good time without consequences decided to break the lock from the gate, and have at it. Since then, the Pet Dam has reverted back to a non-stop party train, with intoxicated driving, screeching tyres, the public discharge of firearms, public urination and defecation and more is now the order of the day. Packed in like sardines in the swimming pool parking lot, the overflow of partygoers move to the Sport Inn parking lot. These inconsiderate and lawless residents leave a trail of refuse, broken bottles, used condoms and smoldering charcoal from grills in their wake, drunkenly swerving home to sleep off the good times. Residents who feel threatened, or are distraught by misbehavior at the Pet Dam and Sport Inn, may contact the SAPS on 017 819 7803, or contact ACSU on 017 811 1274.