2020-03-31-(01) COVID-19 – Retracting an earlier decision

Latest decision retracted

Estate management hereby retracts its latest decision of Welgevonden estate residents not being allowed to exit or enter the estate on foot in order to proceed to the Stone Square shopping centre to do shopping.

Although the decision was taken with all good intent, it became clear that it was contrary to lockdown measures for residential areas in general where those who live there are allowed to walk to shops to do essential shopping.

Background to making this decision

Welgevonden Estate management's viewpoint right from the outset was that the estate falls under the same regulations as those that apply to non-gated communities. This guided us in the decisions that we made in the lead-up to and during lockdown and to give clarity to Welgevonden Estate’s residents on matters that affect them directly.

The problem with Brig. Naidoo’s media statement referred to in our earlier communique and on which the decision was based not to allow estate residents to walk to the Stone Square shopping centre, is that it was yet another ambiguous statement in a series of conflicting announcements about what estate residents are allowed to do and not to do.

Particular uncertainty

Two points in Brig. Naidoo’s media statement were of particular concern to us (and we quote):

1. “… meaning no walking, jogging or walking of pets within closed estates/complexes is allowed.”

2. “All estate/complex managers must assist by ensuring that these regulations are enforced with immediate effect.”

Point No 1 caused conflict between “walking on the estate” and “walking to the shop”. Where does one draw the line in an estate the physical size of Welgevonden Estate where residents can literally walk for kilometres via various parts of the estate before getting to the shop? And what about those not having the intention to go to the shop, but merely using it as a reason to go walking?

Linking this to No 2 above which places an onus on estate management to “enforce” the regulations, but not taking into account that it is not estate management’s role to do so, further complicated the matter.

We therefore had to respond to the statement based on its face value and on our interpretation of the meaning of “enforce” in this instance.

The decision

In the end estate management made a decision to stop residents from entering or exiting the estate on foot, based on Naidoo’s unclear statement. Our intention was to try to get to an arrangement that would contribute towards the purpose of the lockdown, namely to stay at home.

Hindsight is perfect vision

With hindsight it is clear that what was expected from estates differs from what is allowed in non-gated communities. For this reason we retract the measures which do not allow residents to walk to the shop, until such time that government gives clearer instructions to estates and complexes in this regard.

At the same time we appeal to residents to keep to the spirit of the lockdown, namely to stay at home and only to go out if it is really essential.

More important, though, we wish to thank each and every one of you for the way in which you’ve supported estate management in its actions thus far and for the way in which we as residents act in unity for the benefit of a cause much bigger than what we are. Information that comes to our ears is that Welgevonden Estate is seen as an estate which is setting the pace and a community that is willing to walk the extra mile to make things work. Thank you for your effort to make this possible.

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