On The Soapbox

Click on the article header and open it. At the bottom of the article complete the comments section (you don’t need to complete website):

Thursday, 23 May 2013; 20h00

Dear Atlasville Resident

This has been a bad week for me.

I have been exposed to so many areas of poor service delivery and sub standard performance that as a resident like yourself, I am not prepared to accept this. Areas that require attention:

• The heavy handed tactics of the council in cutting off electricty
• A complaint from a resident about an illegal business TWO (yes 2 – TWEE BILI) years that is still not resolved and no action has taken place
• Marquees in the parks, last year and this past Saturday
• Illegal signs in the suburb

This is some of the issues at hand.

And then the cherry on the top; My email to you on Saturday about us not adhering to the bylaws, and that my opinion if we continue with this trend this will eventually affect property values, I got this response:

I shall quote from the mail (and note that this was my (Shane’s) view):

Sad that we continue to break bylaws. I must remind everyone of the funeral that was held last year, where I wrote to you saying that we had been failed. The only response back from that one is that it was illegal.

Were the residents fined? Was it taken further? Doubt it.

And I venture to say that nothing will come about this case.

Therefore, bylaws mean nothing if not ENFORCED !!!!

Where does this leave you and me, who have substantial amounts of cash invested in property in this suburb. Do we all turn a blind eye and go into downward spiral of dropping property values because we can all do as we like with NO CONSEQUENCES?

I think NOT.

If you are happy with the status quo, do nothing. But if you are with my sentiment, make it known to Andre and hold him accountable for making our grievances heard and dealt with.


Greetings Andre

Thanks for the concerns you have raised on the below mail,I agree with you, we all have to respect the bylaws and abide by them.

I appreciate that we have a forum like ours, “Atlasville residence” and once we start talking as neighbors, good things happen.

I don’t agree with your sentiment mentioned on the mail below. I think your approach is patronizing and insensitive.

The neighbor in question has been a residence in our suburb for the past 12 years; unfortunately he tragically lost his spouse to an untimely death. We couldn’t have expected them to have the funeral held elsewhere.

The funeral was attended en masse I noticed many cars parked on pavements and I did not see anything out of order , yes there were portable toilets placed on the pavement, and were taken away afterwards , the streets and pavements were cleaned up.

Events like funerals, you don’t plan for, they can happen to anyone of us, at any given time. I don’t see having a funeral in Atlasville devalue our properties in any way.

We need to communicate effectively, as neighbors to know where there will be a funeral, and we become aware and plan accordingly to minimize the inconvenience caused by the influx of traffic, mourners etc.


Note again: This was not Andre’s sentiments, but mine. I have written back to the writer of the email and pointed this out.

From the outset, let me state that everyone is free of their opinion and I respect this opinion. I then started thinking about myself and the role I play in Atlasville. I also questioned whether that I had a one sided view or does this represent the view of the rest of the community. What is the true sentiment of this community?

I have also considered if it is really worth my while continuing to run Atlasville Organisation, or if I should pack it in and go fishing?

This is where I want your views and I don’t want them back in an email, but I want you to go to the website and comment on this article. I want you to be polite, respectful of one another’s views, but frank and truthful.

What is your position and view in living in this suburb? Is it OK to break the bylaws, or are the important to live in harmony with one another?

Some examples I will give you where we are breaking them:
• Fireworks
• Burning rubbish on your property
• Putting out refuse bags early
• Speeding
• Not stopping at stop streets
• Illegal advertising
• Running businesses (take a look at Finch road just as an example)
• Marquees in the park

Yes it is sad to say that only a very small amount of people will get involved to help us running Atlasville Organisation, for the benefit of the larger community, while there will be a small pocket of people that do not agree.

But while we are doing this for the greater benefit of all, then it is important that we are representing the sentiment of the greater group.

Please go to the website, find this article, and comment on it – YOUR feelings and views.

1. Do you agree we should be adhering to the bylaws?
2. Is it OK to break them?
3. Do you believe Atlasville Organisation is focusing on the correct areas? If not where should this focus be?
4. Is it right that only a small handful of people be involved?
5. Do we continue with Atlasville Organisation or do we pack it in?

Your comment will be held at first and then provided you have been respectful in your reply it will be released.

Thank you for reading this.

Shane Bailey

24 Replies to “On The Soapbox”

  1. Good evening Shane,
    I completely agree – rules, regulations and by laws are put in place to protect and accomodate all. These are clearly defined and should be adhered to. Turning a ‘blind eye’ will just enforce a complete breakdown of the entire fabric of society, this is definately not what we as Atlasville residence expect from our appointed councillors. Lawlessness has no place in civilised society.
    Retain your soapbox – let one voice become many and perhaps we will be heard.

  2. My response to the questions you have posed:
    1. Yes, we need to adhere to the bylaws
    2. Is it OK to break them? I quote the following: ‘”Originally proposed by Dr. James Q. Wilson and George Kelling, broken windows theory suggests that a society or subset of society that appears to be lawless will itself breed lawlessness. To present their theory, Wilson and Kelling use the example of a building with a broken window that remains unrepaired. This image of disorder then encourages further incivility, telling residents and other passersby that it doesn’t matter and that no one cares. This encourages further uncivilized activity which eventually balloons the neighborhood into a slummy crime-filled area of lawlessness. In run down neighborhoods, other examples of social disorder include damaged or boarded up homes and buildings, graffiti and vandalism, loitering or solicitation, and disorderly conduct by people in the area.
    3. I believe focusing on issues such as environmental issues, service delivery, safety, adherence to bylaws are important.
    4. I believe South Africans are good at complaining, but not getting involved. Standing for what you believe in is never easy and at times, will feel like you are standing alone against the ‘rest of the world’. Do you allow a minority to influence your efforts? Our lives begin to end the day we become silent
    about things that matter.
    – Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.
    – Edmund Burke

  3. Please don’t pack it in, this is a fantastic forum and I wish we could get more residents to join. Although I may be a somewhat passive observer, the information provided is most valuable to me, eg the recycling project, electricty cuts, the spruit project and criminal activity.

    With regards to the by-laws, I am sure we all break one or two on a regular basis, however this I believe is only human and most of us try to be law abiding citizens. As for the marquee and funeral story, I’m not phased about the issue as long as notice is given to immediate neighbours and the suburb is left clean afterwards. I am more disturbed about the litter and overflowing dustbins at the end of the park near Mercury Road. Unfortunately the only way to prevent the more severe offenses is by working on obeying the less significant ones. It may be possible that not every-one is in fact aware of all the by-laws and it’s just such a forum that makes as aware of them and keeps us in check.

  4. Bylaws are put in place to protect our areas. The writer states that it was ok to have the funeral in Atlasville. Where else. Ever thought of a church???? Is this not where funerals take place. Porta toilets were supplied but I personally saw individuals urinating on the rear walls of the park! Abide by the laws or move elsewhere. Shane, you cannot give up. Your contribution is vital.THANK YOU!

  5. Hello Shane, Keep up the good work. We as a family are not able to participate as my husband is away for a great deal of the time. We both appreciate very much what you do and would not like you to stand down. Thank goodness for people like you Shane.

  6. Do you agree we should be adhering to the bylaws? Absolutely!!!
    2. Is it OK to break them? Definitely not!!!
    3. Do you believe Atlasville Organisation is focusing on the correct areas? If not where should this focus be? Atlasville Organisation is doing a great job, and YES the focus is exactly what it should be.
    4. Is it right that only a small handful of people be involved? No, but I for one am extremely grateful to those who are involved. I would like to be involved but work and health just don’t allow.
    5. Do we continue with Atlasville Organisation or do we pack it in? Never give up, Shane. Atlasville Organisation was born of a passion for community safety and all those other important things that make a community healthy, safe and a pleasure to be a part of. You have an admirable passion for your community……..something we see little of and will have to go a long way to find.
    It may not seem so but your work in the community is greatly appreciated. Your efforts are commendable and are not unnoticed. We may not say it every day but Atlasville would not be what it is without Shane and his Team.

  7. Hi Shane,

    I think it’s a given that by-laws need to be adhered too – regardless of the sentiment of the situation. I also think it’s going to be a given that only the usual suspects will comment on this story. That said, I believe there is a place for Atlasville Org. It gives us a face that council has to take seriously, even if it’s a minority of Atlasville residents that are active.

  8. Hi People,

    Discarding the bylaws is the first step on the road to anarchy. If we dont adhere to bylaws, any other law can then also be abolished, because that is were this is heading.

    It is a crime for good people to do stand by and do nothing when the rules that ensure orderly society are broken.

    We must get off the sideline were so many of us are at -busy complaining, and physically get busy to help our Atlasville iniative!!!!!!

  9. Shane please we need people like you in the community, we cannot afford for our suburb to become a lawless society like the rest of the country is becoming, unfortunately because it is being allowed elsewhere it is accepted that it can be done anywhere – like a virus. Again I can help out on an ad hoc basis. I do think we need to advertise the organisation more as it was by pure chance I came across it after staying in the area for nearly 2 years.
    But yes you have my 100% to stand on that soap box!!!

    Thank you for all the committee does for us.


  10. Hi Shane, Please keep up the good work,
    In response to your e-mail, I have been a resident of Atlasville for more than 20 years, and although we must be tolerant of the different cultures, I do believe we have to adhere to laws & by laws in society, otherwise it would be a free for all. Although I am not that involved in the Atlasville projects,my family appreciates all the heads up, and news and your contribution. I do believe we can co exist, laws are there for a reason and there are certain channels and procedures that must be follwed. Crime is rife, people are edgy, we need to keep a certain level of neatness and security, we have a lovely neighbourhood. .I have an elderly mom at home, and the heads up on goings on helps to keep her and my son safe. The funeral could have been held elsewhere,but if the right procedures were followed, and the neighbours and residents informed,and the place clean afterward,but people urinating against walls,where porta toilets were supplied,I rest my case.We pay rates & taxes for maintaining a decent living area. THANK YOU for all your time & effort

  11. Hi Shane
    I believe that the Atlasville Organisation is addressing the important issues, thanks and please keep it up.

  12. Hi Shane, please keep up the good work, also a passive reader usually but love being kept informed on the happenings!
    Agree fully the bylaws should be adhered too, start off breaking small ones and it progresses, the bin bags irritate the hell out of me as cats/dogs/rats/birds scatter rubbish all over the place and it usually ends up in front of my house.
    I think a bit of compassion should be shown in the way of funerals etc but having said that believe its totally unnecessary and unwanted to have cattle slaughtered in a residential area.

  13. I agree bylaws should be adhered to. Irrespective of the function.
    As we all would normally have a funeral in church or a hall. Its simple if one person gets excused then it sets an example for the rest to follow. Lets not tolerate this.

    Shane you are our Atlasville “president”… thanks for your hard work and dedication. You definitely have a daunting task and we thank you for your efforts!

  14. Hi Shane, I believe the organisation is vital to all those who live in this wonderful suburb of which we should all be caretakers of. In saying that, if bylaws are adhered to, it should not be necessary to “police” or govern people and no-one wants to get to that state – we all want to live in harmony and have respect and tolerance for our neighbours. We all want to live in our own space. However, when the actions of a few affect the lives of many, then laws must be followed. At the end of the day we all need to be respectful of those around us – Shane, you have always acted on behalf of our community and at the end of the day, we have you to thank for looking after our best interests and ensuring that our biggest investment (our homes) increase in value and that our suburb does not become an undesirable suburb in which to invest.
    Please keep up the excellent work……

  15. Hi Shane

    Please do continue fighting the good fight. People like yourself and the other active members of Atlasville Organisation are doing a fantastic job. Agree wholly on the subject of adhering to bylaws. One incident will just (and has) lead to another.


  16. Trf by Shane from wecare email to website:

    Dear Shane,

    I understand your frustration with the poor service that the Ekhuruleni council provides (or doesn’t), as I have had a few problems with them as well. Employees at the concil hardly ever answer their phones and when they do, they are unable to assist with the slighted request. The person that is supposed to be in the know, is never available.

    With regard to the by-laws, I wonder how many people actually know what they are, as I have never seen them published in any form. It might be an idea to get them published in the news letter that is sent out with the monthly accounts.

    As a resident in Atlasville for close to 35 years, I have seen the suburb going through many changes and these are reflected in the make up of the suburb.

    In the examples that you have given of by-laws being broken, I have the following comments:
    Fireworks – I agree that these should be banned in general, unless a special permit has been applied for and permission given. As our suburb is now multi-cultural, fireworks are used in religious ceremonies (Hindu festival of lights, etc)
    Burning rubbish on your property – should be stopped due to pollution. However, the current trend of wood-burning fires is just as bad.
    Putting out refuse bags early – as an elderly, infirm person, I require assistance to put heavy bags out and can only do this when such help is available.
    Speeding – speed limits should be obeyed at all times.
    Not stopping at stop streets – traffic laws should be obeyed at all times.
    Illegal advertising – Placards should never be placed on lamp or street sign poles. If someone needs to advertise, notices can be placed into postboxes.
    Running businesses (take a look at Finch road just as an example) – if council approval has been obtained, there should be no problem with this practice. However, with the current economic situation and the lack of formal jobs, working from home is better than relying on handouts or begging
    Marquees in the park – again, permission should be obtained from the council. However, given that the service from the council is so bad, I’m not surprised that people just go ahead, especially when it is a funeral and timing is an issue.
    In respect to your request for comments, I have the following to add:

    1. Do you agree we should be adhering to the bylaws? – Yes we should, but transgressions should be dealt with understanding and reasonableness.
    2. Is it OK to break them? – Not really, but sometimes there are reasons for doing so and should be dealt with accordingly, as stated above.
    3. Do you believe Atlasville Organisation is focusing on the correct areas? If not where should this focus be? – I believe that your focus should be on the safety of residence and the maintaining of infrastructure, ie. roads/potholes, lighting, etc. To be a communication tool and a voice of conscience, reminding both residence & council of their responsibilities towards the residence of Atlasville.
    4. Is it right that only a small handful of people be involved? – I think that the whole suburb should be involved. However, it is a well known fact that in most community based organisations, the populace will rely on the few dedicated people that do the job well.
    5. Do we continue with Atlasville Organisation or do we pack it in? Please continue to do the job that you are doing. I for one feel a lot safer knowing that someone is monitoring the suburb and communicating with the council and police in order to keep this area safe.

    I hope that my input is useful and I wish you and your colleagues every success in your endeavours on behalf of all the residence of Atlasville.

    Kind regards


  17. Trf by Shane from wecare email

    Hi there

    as a black woman in the area I agree fully with the response. It is patronising to us and makes us all wonder if we will put through the same shame and judgement if anything like this happens to our family.

    since when did having a funeral devalue property. This was insensitive and has left a sour taste in my mouth about the people we live around.



  18. A brief comment regarding funerals in the park: I understand that funerals were held in the park because there was nowhere else. Does this mean bodies will also be buried there “because there was nowhere else”? Let’s not wait till it happens before we take a stand. Laws are there to be obeyed not disregarded

  19. As a resident of Atlasville for the past 24 years I am now fed up with this funeral as it is right on may door step.Every night for the pasr 2 weeks (and I was told for the next 2 weeks to come!!!! )at around 1am in the morning grampa and a few of the young men start to chop wood for a open fire which is then lit in the back yard on a couple of bricks nexto my wall under my tree. This is along the side of my house right by my bedrooms. After the chopping for what seem an hour this huge and I mean huge fire is lit the flames as high as my wall. The is so much smoke I have to shut all the windows on that side of the house. Then they talk so loud my whole house hold is now awake.And all the lights in the house inside and out are on all night so much for saving electricaty. Then the cooking startes for the next day all the while banging the back door and the outside flat door. Why if the people are comming the following day must we cook form 1am the night before.This I was told is their culture they are on the propety and can do what they like.I would like to get hold of a copy of the bylays regarding this. Please excuse my spelling.
    PLEASE CAN SOMEONE HELP!!! WHAT NEXT IN OUR ONCE LOVELY SUBURB.While I understand we need to be tolarant of each ones culture if you chose to live in a plase you need to consiter other people.I am desprate for a good nights sleep as is my family as we have to get up and go to work half a sleep.

  20. Response on last mail regarding various issues: My family have been residents of Atlasville for 25 years and wish to comment that it has been a great place to stay. Even though I was a victim of a hijacking some 6 years ago, I still feel relatively safe here and I would like to express my gratitude and thanks to you Shane and everyone else involved in this organization. You people are doing a fantastic job (if I can call it that) The time and effort that goes into it is probably not appreciated enough by the residents.
    My responses are as follows;
    1. We should definitely be adhering to by laws and not break them. If every person that loses a loved has to do the marquee thing, we would be ending up looking like a traveling circus (no disrespect intended) There are places appropriate for funerals right?
    2. In my opinion you are focusing on the correct areas.
    3. It would be good if more residents would be involved, including myself, and I would if I could. (Hopefully I will be able to at some stage
    4. Please do not pack it up. You are doing our community a great service.

    Thank you once again for all that you do. I am convinced most of the residents feel this way. However, in all walks of life you will find those who complain or disagree. For me breaking the law/s is not an option because I believe society has to adhere to good standards to function effectively. It is in everybody’s interest.

  21. Hi Shane,
    I agree with you. Bylaws are in place for a reason and without them, it would be chaos. Death is not planned, but funerals are. Why break the law and have no regard for others around you. I say this because when my mother passed away two and a bit years ago, I made alternative arrangement that did not require breaking any bylaws. As for the other pionts mentioned by you, I agree fully. Fireworks and speeding are major factors. Many don’t think about the consequences,until there is an accident or someone dies. These points have been raised many times before.As for refuse bags!! Dates are given but to some it does not matter. They put out their bags, any day of the week.
    Yes, fishing sounds like a good idea and may even be relaxing, but please don’t give up all the good work you are doing. We really appreciate what you doing.

    Atlasville is a lovely friendly place to stay. Most people bought property here for that reason.However, there are a few that have no regard for other, and seem to think they can do what ever they want.(law unto temselves).

    Thank you for all your hard work and is appreciated

    Kind regards

  22. hi Shane,
    the issue we are talking about is BYLAWS and not BYRULES. rules can be changed or altered at any time to suit the situation. A law works ALL the time for any body or any situation, no matter who we are, who we know, or what the condition or circumstance is. (Example; the law of gravity).
    As long as we stay within the bounderies of the law we enjoy the freedom. If we disobey the law we have chosen the behaviour and therefor will live with the consequences.
    we expect the Council to apply the laws that were put in place for a specific reason. They have failed to do so not only with the funeral issue, but with the other ussues as well. Now that it is a known fact that some people were allowed to disobey the/some laws the president has been set. Can the Council please let us know what they will do now and in the future if THEIR LAWS are broken?

    Thank You Shane and Liezel for the time and effort that You put in to make our area a safe and clean, by adressing the issues that matter! DONT GIVE UP!



  23. Hi Shane,
    By-laws are By-laws (its falling on deaf ears)and council is not cared
    Thank you for the teams efforts as well as yours, really much appreciated.
    Keep up the good work, it will fall flat if you are not there.
    As you know I am out-spoken with comments and this is my reply.

    Rates and taxes as you know has always been political and is getting worse and the rate payer has no more say in the area they are living. 5% of our rates gets put back into our area and 95% goes elsewhere.
    Atlasville Organisation have been working very hard for years now and sorry to say Atlasville is looking worse every year and not improving very much, as we still have the same problems year in and year out.

    Shane, you must tell the residents and explain to them exactly how the politics work and that the voted in counciler has no say in our area and gets outvoted all the time and that the voted in councillor is only a e-mail carrier and that is all.(He is not allowed to put pressure by LAW on coucil.(That is a fact)even if he is voted in, in Atlasville.I do feel sorry for Andrea as his hands are cut off to act on our behalf.
    Hence the state of Atlasville.
    Sorry Shane but Atlasville Organisation must get the support from the residents and we must all stand together.
    If Atlasville Organisation does not find other ways and means to deal very harshly, directly with council and force them to respond to Atlasville complaints and get answers from them and action without using the voted in councillor, then I would strongly suggest that you rather go fishing and enjoy the time with your family.
    Where is the so called Democracy?????????
    You have my support
    Keep well Shane and thank you.

  24. Hi Shane, I just want to say that please do not stop! The Atlasville Organisation is just amazing! I know I am not very involved in the organisation (I wish I had more time to help!) but the organisation has made the transition for life in JHB so much easier. So thank you!