Property declared ‘a problem’

2015-08-25 14:56
The house which has reisdents in Heathfield up in arms. 

PHOTO: 
astrID februarie

The house which has reisdents in Heathfield up in arms. PHOTO: astrID februarie

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A property in Heathfield has been declared a problem building by the City of Cape Town’s Problem Building Unit.

A delapitated house in in Heahtfield has been an eyesore for residents in the area for several years and are again calling on the City of Cape Town to take action.

Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security JP Smith says one of the complaints related to people occupying a caravan on the property and have now taken up occupation in the house.

“The owner of the property is deceased,” Smith says.

Mayoral Committee Member for Finance Ian Neilson says the City can confirm that the property has an account with debt outstanding charged against the property for rates, services, collection costs and a Problem Building tariff, as the property has been a declared problem building in terms of the City’s Problem Building By-law.

“The City has initiated legal collection to recover the debt outstanding, however we have faced challenges as no executor has been appointed to wind up the estate. The legal collection process has been progressing slowly due to it not being possible to serve the required legal documents as prescribed by the relevant legislation,” he says.

Neilson says the City is currently investigating alternative legal solutions that could lead to sale of the property and collection of the debt outstanding. “The City is doing all it can to resolve this situation as quickly as possible, but must operate within the parameters of the law,” he says.

Ward councillor Kevin Southgate says he is happy that the City has made progress with regard to the property concerned as it had been a concern to neighbours for many many years.

“The recent removal of the children has been a great success and could not have been acheived without the asistance of the local community,” Southgate says.

He says now that the building has been declared a problem building he hopes that they will see an end to the “sarga” in the near future.

The property is situated on 5th Road in Heathfield.

People’s Post previously reported (“Time to clear the grime”. 28 November 2013), that the Heathfield house has neighbours up in arms about the state of the property. According to one of the current tenants at time, Martine van Reenen, the house was owned by her grandmother who left the house to the family.

“There are nine of us living in this house, including my sister and her three children, our aunt, uncle and my three children and me. I’ve been living here for a month. My aunt lived here in the past, but then she moved out. We’ve been trying to clean up the house for the last month, but it’s so difficult, because none of us work. The house has electricity, but no running water,” she said. Smith says the City has been made aware of allegations of social issues and use of drugs on the premises.

“Any criminal activity should be reported to the police so that they can investigate and take action,” he says. He added that the City is not in a position to provide security on privately-owned property.

On a visit to the property last week, People’s Post found that the caravan had been removed, but that the property had been significantly “renovated”.

It appeared that the front of the house had been extended with wooden planks and painted in various paint colours.

The front door has a lock on it and a broken down vehicle stood on the front garden. There were also litter strewn all over the property and appeared that the garden has not been maintained for a long period of time.

A resident who asked not to be identified, says he is well aware of the problems the tenants has caused in the area.

“This is not a way for people to live, no water and proper sanitation facility, no secure gate or wall with children living on the property is unacceptable,” he says.

He claims that the tenants of the property has several children who do not attend school and would go door to door asking for food and water.

“I would regualrly see the children playing outside when they are supposed to be at school. This is really concerning to me because the chilren are often left unattended outside,” he says.


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