Some positive developments could soon help to turn the tide against crime and grime in Wynberg, ward councillor Emile Langenhoven told a civic meeting last week.
Speaking at the Wynberg Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association annual general meeting, held at the Wynberg Methodist Church on Wednesday October 18, he said the CBD should have one or two fewer problem buildings to contend with by the end of this year, and reports detailing the issues surrounding two derelict Waterloo Green houses were being readied for the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, which owns the properties, following a public petition earlier this year calling for their demolition (“Call for Public Works to meet its Waterloo,” Bulletin, June 8).
According to Mr Langenhoven, Leisure Group, the company that owns an invaded office building at 115 Main Road, has received a court order to evict illegal occupants. An arrangement had been reached for the squatters to clear out before the end of November and by Friday December 1, the building should be empty. If not, the court sheriff would evict them, Mr Langenhoven said.
“The Waterloo petition generated over 2 500 signatures. We finally got it on the Department of Public Works agenda,” he said, adding that a report to the department would outline a proposal by the nearby Wynberg schools to develop the site
Wynberg Boys Junior School principal Cedric Poleman told the Bulletin in July that the schools would like to use the site for extra parking to ease traffic congestion in Cavan Close and Cavan, Ellerslie and Seymour roads. The plan included two entrance gates to improve traffic flow, a security hut and cameras on the perimeter.
Nancy Krisch, who represents the Wynberg Sector 1 Neighbourhood Watch, said strides against crime from 2015 to 2019, aided by the mayoral urban generation programme, had been set back by Covid.
“We had a tremendous influx of homeless people. This all created a miserable problem along with our issues on Ebor Road. It was like four steps forward, three steps back, so now the effort is really to get us back to baseline and reinvigorate something that had been started before.”
Dylan Williams, the managing director of a security company, said: “We used to have homeless people predominantly that were stopped at night and the early hours of the morning. Now we’ve got gangsters, and we know this because they’ve got 26 and 27 tattoos on them, and these are the guys that are out here to break in, steal, rob, do whatever they need to do. That is all over the southern suburbs.”
Providing feedback on monthly meetings with the Wynberg police, Ms Krisch said theft out of vehicles was one of the most common crimes in Wynberg West along with other opportunistic crime such as breaking into garages.
“I think the big message is if there is a gap, it is going to be taken. What that means is that we must not leave any gaps. Not that we would want to live this way, but this is our reality.”
She warned that no valuables should be left in cars.
“Opportunism is a major problem, largely driven by the drug problem here in Wynberg. One of the things we are trying to do is to get a drug-rehab place in Wynberg because currently if someone would like to be rehabilitated, they have to go to Claremont or Parkwood. Unless someone from the City’s displaced people’s unit has time or is here and has the ability to drive them there, they are not going there… so it’s an endless loop.”