Victory for Waterloo

Blackened, burnt, broken, with no more thatch.

After months of angst, the two heritage houses on Waterloo Green in Wynberg finally have security guards (“Big woes at Waterloo,” Bulletin April 20 2017).

On Monday February 26, the Bulletin found two security guards watching over the vandalised, broken, burnt remains of these once magnificent homes.

The tar in the road was still wet from where the City’s water officials had turned off the tap earlier that day, according to one of the guards. He said a team from the national Department of Public Works (DPW) had viewed the property a few days before.

The Bulletin learnt of the changes after a sector briefing meeting at Wynberg police station hosted by station commander, Brigadier Nokuthula Mzila.

Local architect Nic Louw has been fighting to save the houses for over a year. They had deteriorated to such an extent that one of them caught fire at about 5am on Thursday November 2 last year, when the thatched roof was destroyed.

The neighbouring Victorian house once had shutters at the windows and is surrounded by knee-high grass hiding mounds of litter and a breeding ground for rats.

Sergeant Abdul-Gakeen Laubscher said the houses had been a haven for vagrants and criminals.

There have been numerous arrests there, the most recent on Thursday February 22 when one woman and two men were arrested. The previous week a man was caught burning copper there and he was arrested for theft and trespassing.

* Captain Charles Petersen, of Wynberg Sector 1, said drug-related crime continued to be a major issue.

Sector 1 covers Riverstone Road to Constantia Main Road between the railway line and Waterloo Road. Over the past seven days, he said, they had made 24 arrests including two well-known drug dealers who operated in Main Road.

* Also in Sector 1, thefts from and of vehicles are high with hot spots around Wynberg library, the parking area behind Pick * Pay, Church Street and the car park at Victoria Hospital.

* Police have asked the public not to give food or money to street people, but to rather make a donation to a shelter.

The donations keep people on the street and feed the addictions of those battling substance abuse, they say.

Some vagrants were involved in crime, while others travelled to the area to make money. “It’s like a job,” said Captain Petersen.

* Brigadier Mzila said scams were still a problem in the area.

The “dollar” scam is where people are asked to give R100 which the scamster will make into R2000. Another is where women approach shoppers telling them to leave their bags and to go and shop till they drop. The shoppers return to find their bags gone.

Another scam is where a deposit is asked for a non-existent flat.

* Brigadier Mzila said school children continued to be robbed of expensive cellphones and headphones .

“They walk around with headphones and cannot hear a taxi horn so it’s no wonder they don’t hear thieves approach them,” she said.

* Captain Silvino Davids, of Sector 2, which covers the area east of the railway line, warned that muggers were using subways as escape routes after robbing people there during off-peak times.

He appealed to the community to join neighbourhood watches and work with the police so they could cover a bigger area.

* Brigadier Mzila said the Wynberg Improvement District, the neighbourhood watches and Business Against Crime were doing a good job, but with thousands of people visiting the Home Affairs office in the area and the courts to watch high-profile gangster cases, fighting crime was a challenge.

* To report crime call Wynberg Police at 021 799 1400, or the operations room at 021 799 1492.