Elderly ‘living in fear’

2016-04-05 06:00

Their beloved neighbourhood has now turned into something like a prison.

These are the words of a group of elderly residents living in Shoebill Court, New Horizons.

Residents who moved into the housing development about three years ago say they fear for their safety in the area as gang activity has escalated since they moved in.

One resident, who did not want to be named out of fear of victimisation, says they have been living in fear for “too long”.

“It really is sad to live in a place where one can’t really be free. The name should say a lot – New Horizons. But when I moved in here, it was exactly the opposite,” the concerned resident says.

The resident says the frustration stems from alleged gang activity in the court.

“At the moment the 6 Bops gang is operating here. They even call our court the Four Corners.”

Another resident says they have been verbally abused by unsavoury elements hanging around a few homes in the court.

“When we tried to reprimand these people involved with the gang, we were met with disrespect and got sworn at. It’s like we should just shut our mouths and allow this to happen,” the resident says.

“My children’s school work is being affected by these activities in the area. They (the gangs) are a nuisance when they make a noise at all hours of the day and night,” the resident complains.

The residents say they have already joined forces with the City of Cape Town to have this issue addressed and reported the situation to the police.

“After we set up petitions and asked to meet with the mayor to highlight our dissatisfaction, nothing has been done. This is really a cry for help because we are being terrorised by gang activity and drug peddling every day,” the residents say.

Mayco member for human settlements, Benedicta van Minnen, says the properties pointed out in an enquiry relating to the activities in the court, are privately owned homes. “The mentioned properties are not rental stock. It’s Breaking New Ground (BNG) units that were handed over to beneficiaries for private ownership. As with all property owners, beneficiaries of the BNG Housing Project are responsible for any maintenance and the safeguarding of their houses as well as ensuring that no illegal activity or antisocial behaviour occurs on their premises,” Van Minnen says.

She adds the RDP houses have a specific title deed condition that does not allow beneficiaries to sell their homes within the first eight years of having received their property.

Van Minnen says the City’s Housing Allocations Policy states approved beneficiaries “shall not sublet the property until the transfer of the property has been registered”.

“If in breach, the City reserves the right to allocate and transfer the property to the next applicant on the database or to the person in occupation. The City, therefore, strongly discourages the letting out of an RDP house that has been received by a beneficiary.

“If a person is found in contravention of the Allocation Policy, for example subletting the property before it is transferred into their name, the City has the right to reclaim the property and allocate and transfer it to the next qualifying applicant on the City’s database,” Van Minnen explains.

She further adds that a BNG beneficiary is not prevented from renting out their home after the transfer of the property has taken place.
“However, the City strongly advises against this and reserves the right to reallocate the units if the transfer has not yet taken place. The City is obliged to enforce its policy and will investigate any contraventions in this regard. In order to do so, the City will need the community to provide the names of beneficiaries who are suspected of engaging in such affairs.”

Grassy Park police spokesperson Warrant Officer Wynita Kleinsmith says they can confirm that regular searches are done at Shoebill Court.
However, Kleinsmith says police are “not aware of any gang activity currently in Shoebill Court”.

Criminal activities have however taken place as Kleinsmith cites that a registered case was reported at the station.
“The complainant alleged that she was walking in Strandfontein road on Saturday 13 February when someone unknown to her grabbed her bag and ran. Her cell phone was inside the bag that the suspect took,” Kleinsmith says.

She says the case was however only reported on Thursday 3 March.
In another case registered during last year, Kleinsmith says the complainant alleged that she was sleeping when her neighbour “made a noise”.
“When she addressed him he swore at her. The suspect was arrested and appeared on related charges,” Kleinsmith says.

She adds the sector manager, Sergeant Alridge Isaacs, and assistant sector manager Constable Kurt Oliphant have a very good relationship with their neighbourhood watches and encourage the community to joining the neighbourhood watch structures.

The police urge residents to report sector 3 crime related issues to 082 522 2883.

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