Old house a hazard

A peaceful protest was held in Plumstead over a derelict house on a field off Student's Way.

The Plumstead community came out in force to hold a peaceful protest on a piece of land in Students Way.

They are fed up with the derelict house in a corner of it, in Montley Road (“Residents unite against property”, Bulletin, January 25).

Lauren Artus who lives nearby, says they have tried everything, from a petition to sending countless emails to the Department of Public Works (DPW), Law Enforcement, SAPS and City officials.

Speaking from atop a concrete pipe, Ms Artus said the best thing was to bulldoze the derelict house. This was met with cheers from the gathered community.

One resident said they would even pay for it.

Everything has fallen on deaf ears and vagrants and drug users continue to live there. Rats can be seen climbing trees, scurrying down drains and even carried by one of the local cats.

André Basson who lives behind the house, says the City’s health officials recently put rat poison down but say they are unable to go into the house as it is managed by national government.

Henk and Carol Gerber who live in Students Way say they recently saw a domestic worker being chased around the field and have also seen the garage door from the house being taken away on a shopping trolley at 2am.

Vicky Draper says the field is a beautiful asset in the area. People used to walk their dogs here and hold children’s birthday parties and nannies would push pushchairs. Now they are scared by criminal elements.

Chloe Lallemand, 11, of Balomaral Road says her dog Goldie cut his paw badly while running around the house. She would love to see it used as stables or an animal shelter.

Her family used to clean the field on Madiba Day but now it is dangerous.

In July 2015 Elsie du Plessis of Miracle Kidz safe house in Constantia Hills applied to open Miracle Angels house for children with cerebral palsy there. They would have paid for the house to be renovated and add an additional room that would have been used as a medical suite.

Ms Brunette said she is aware of the application and motivated for the lease application to be concluded – before it was set on fire last year on Sunday January 8, and again on Sunday December 10. They received no response to their application.

Earlier this year residents living between the derelict house and Norman Henshilwood High School got together to form the Constantia Meadows Homeowners’ Association (CHMA) which was registered early in 2017 in order to deal with issues relating to the house.

The protest came about after the Bulletin sent questions to national DPW and received no response to our emails or phone calls.

We then sent a complaint to provincial and national DPW which resulted in an irate call from their head spokesperson and then a brief response to the Bulletin’s questions.

Residents were not satisfied.

They asked for a meeting on-site and on Tuesday February 27 they came with their dogs, children on bicycles, the elderly with walking sticks, neighbourhood watch patrollers wearing neon bibs, and Ward 62 councillor Liz Brunette.

They were most surprised to see two security guards who said they had been there since that morning, and also representatives from the DPW. They were even more surprised to see Cape Town region DPW officials, security manager Frans Molefe and chief provincial officer, André Johnson.

In September 2017 the fire chief of the City’s Fire and Rescue Service inspected the property and said the roof of the dwelling had been affected by fire and was in a derelict state.

The roof had collapsed, it was infested with rats, and the rubbish on the premises was a fire hazard. There were also homeless people sleeping there.

Spokesperson for the national DPW, Thami Mchunu, says the site was inspected by their head office to determine the value of the property and decide on the best investment decision. “Short term, the DPW security staff will continue to conduct regular inspections at the property and will remove vagrants found on the premises. Long term, a request has been forwarded to Treasury and is currently investigating the best investment decision,” says Ms Mchunu.