All bets are off

2017-02-21 06:00
Law Enforcement problem building unit says Hollywood Bets is not the problem in WynbergPHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

Law Enforcement problem building unit says Hollywood Bets is not the problem in WynbergPHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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Kristina Davidson, chairperson of the Wynberg Residents and Ratepayers’ Association (WRRA), says the WRRA will continue to oppose gambling in Main Road, as they believe that gambling establishments should not be on the doorstep of residential areas.

Residents have being complaining about a gambling establishment on the corner of Main and Langley roads for some time. Their main worry is that the betting club attracts unsavoury characters and has increased loitering, drug peddling and prostitution in the area (“Corner of crime”, People’s Post, 22 March 2016).

Following complaints about the betting shop ward councillor Liz Brunette was informed by the City of Cape Town’s problem building unit that the property, which includes the apartment building above and behind it, is not a problem building.

Officials of the problem building unit found that the property is in a good, clean state and has open public space and parking bays in front of the garages. There was no dumping taking place, no unsavoury characters on site nor any illegal activities taking place at the time of inspection.

The building also did not meet the criteria of a problem building so the unit decided not to take any further action.

Eugene Dreyer, chairperson of the Wynberg Neighbourhood Watch, says he believes there are certain, specific criteria that classify buildings as problem buildings.

“We have seen drug dealing, people loitering. If the City’s bylaws say loitering is not a problem then they will not find it an issue. Our main concern is the activity in the streets. When we patrol we see a lot going on. As soon as those people see a police vehicle they disappear. Most of the complaints that we had were over the weekends. It’s a hotspot where people congregate to do different activities and that is a problem for us.”

Davidson says the building itself, besides the garages in the building, does not seem to be the problem; but that rather it’s the fact that the gambling establishment is there, attracting the wrong ­element.

“I would like to suggest that the inspector comes and inspects this area at different times of the day, especially between about 11:00 and noon and around 17:00, most definitely over a weekend. Those of us living in this road see a very different picture.”

Davidson adds the gambling establishment is of great concern because it aggravates the existing drug and alcohol problems in Wynberg.

“Main Road is an inappropriate location for gambling outlets, given that the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Act states that applications for a licence will not be approved if the development is undesirable from ‘social, religious, educational, cultural, economic, environmental, transport and land-use aspects’.

“Wynberg ticks all these boxes: It is a civic hub, containing the greatest number of public facilities in the district, including the Wynberg Library, Maynardville Park, the cluster police station, the magistrate’s court and health clinics.

“It is a transit hub, containing a public transport interchange around the train stations that is used by thousands of commuters and learners who attend schools in Wynberg.

“Main Road is heavily frequented by underaged children from the many schools in Wynberg who visit the library and who walk between their schools and home or the transport interchange.

“It is also used by the many people who attend churches and mosques in Wynberg, some of which are just off Main Road,” says Davidson.

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