School to take over

2017-08-22 06:00
This building in Students Way is an eyesore for residents. It burned down and is now being used by vagrants.

This building in Students Way is an eyesore for residents. It burned down and is now being used by vagrants.

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A building in Students Way, Plumstead is a cause of concern for residents.

They say they have written to the City of Cape Town and ward councillor for years to do something about the building.

However, City officials have their hands tied as the building and the land falls under the national department of public works.

Departmental officials say they only own the land on which the building stands and not the greater sports field.

Eddie Andrews, Mayco member (South), says the City’s problem building unit first received a complaint about the property on 11 August, and officials are currently investigating.

Members of the Plumstead Neighbourhood Watch say they have no doubt the building is also contributing to petty crime in the area. Some watch members recently went into the building and found about seven people there. They also found knives, a housebreaking kit, dagga pipes and tik lollies.

With learners walking past the field every day parents are also concerned about their ­safety.

Charmaine Lillie, chairperson of the watch, says the building has been there for years and residents have complained but nothing was done.

“There are vagrants living there. The building burnt down sometime and I don’t think the structure is even strong enough. The roof burnt down. There has been several raids there by Law Enforcement to take people out but they still go back. It’s also a health hazard as there is no water or toilets in there. People come in and out of there at odd hours of the night,” she says.

Lillie says some residents have asked the department of public works if they can use the building.

“I don’t know how far that went and the building is still standing unused. If can’t be repaired and be used for something else; they would rather pull it down. It will help decrease crime in the area,” she says.

There are reports that the sports field has been used by Norman Henshilwood High School with the building used as a changing room. However, school principal Jawaad Holland disputes this.

“The building is on our erf and registered in the name of the national Department of Transport and Public Works. According to my knowledge we did not use the sports field. We have plans for the land, however. It is going to take lots of planning and financial resources to develop the land,” he says.

Thami Mchunu, spokesperson of the national department of public works, says the site has been cleaned and regular inspections are done by security guards.

“The vagrants are removed by security when found on site. Due to budget constraints, permanent security cannot be placed at the site to prevent continued occupation.

“Discussions have been initiated with the provincial department for possible use by Norman Henshilwood High School. The department is currently engaging with the education department with respect to the utilisation of the building. The possibility of demolition is under review by head office in the event that discussions with provincial government are not successful,” says Mchunu.

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