Problem buildings under scrutiny

2016-04-05 06:00

Over 30 problem buildings in the Far South are under investigation.

The City of Cape Town’s latest Problem Building Unit reports 33 cases in Subcouncil 19. The unit works on derelict and vandalised buildings across the city.

Thirteen of the cases are in Ward 61 and 20 in Ward 64, says Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith.

“The cases are all at various stages of investigation,” he says.

“Problem buildings are not just an eyesore in terms of physical appearance, but they also tend to be drivers of crime and antisocial behaviour as they’re known to be havens for illegal occupiers and criminal elements who cause headaches – not just for the rest of the area, but also the local law enforcement agencies.”

During a recent presentation to various subcouncils, the difference between a problem building and “a building with problems” was discussed.

Problem buildings are buildings abandoned by the owner, appearing derelict or overcrowded, with health concerns and where written complaints of criminal activity have been received.

Problem buildings may also be declared where there is prostitution and drug dealing, illegal occupation, an accumulation of waste or a threat to the safety of the public.

However, issues such as overgrown vegetation, unpainted buildings, derelict cars on the property, unlawful business and land invasion do not fall under problem buildings.

Incomplete buildings, rat infestations and loud noises also do not fall under the work of the problem buildings unit.

When a building is declared a problem building, a tariff of R5000 per month is added onto the rates account for the property.

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