Municipal building being vandalised daily

2019-07-10 06:00
Gustav Rautenbach showing drug items found in the vandalised house.                                    Photo:KAILIN DANIELS

Gustav Rautenbach showing drug items found in the vandalised house. Photo:KAILIN DANIELS

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THE vandalism of a vacant municipal building has caused havoc for residents in Algoa Park, following a spike in crime in this area.

This after the caretaker’s home at the Pieter Rademeyer Community Hall became the home of vagrants and criminals who daily ransacked the premises. The premises, which is meant to house a municipal caretaker, stationed at the Pieter Rademeyer Community Hall, has been vacant since November 2018.

When PE Express visited the premises, it had been stripped of its doors, windows and plumbing materials, and the furniture had been stolen. In addition, it will cost the metro thousands of rands to clean and fix the building.

According to the DA’s spokesperson for safety and security, Gustav Rautenbach, the house fell apart due to the lack of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) monitoring and safeguarding the premises.

Rautenbach said because there were no security guards, drug addicts found refuge in the building to carry out criminal activities.

“When I first visited the building, it was an eyesore and the smell was unbearable. Two people were inside the building and we chased them away. It was in such a dire state and criminals used this building as a place to sleep and use drugs. Everything that was of value was stolen, and the entire premises looked like a dumping site,” Rautenbach said.

One of the residents in the area, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed his concern regarding the safety of the community.

“We cannot just stand idle and let this situation become worse. No one is safe in our area or when they visit the hall. If there is an event at the hall, the visitors are attacked and robbed.

“When we approached our ward councillor, he did nothing about this situation. We contacted Councillor Rautenbach when we could not reach our ward councillor. The criminals use this building as their safe haven.

“They use drugs and break into our homes. This is an absolute nightmare and has been going on for too long,” he said. Rautenbach said the municipality had been made aware of the problem multiple times.

Rautenbach added, “The metro police have been to the premises more than once. However, nothing was done. The bathroom in the house is currently out of order as water pipes have been stolen.”

When PE Express visited the premises, one of the vagrants was in the process of using drugs. Municipal officials, including Rautenbach, chased her away. She responded that she would be back the evening as the house “belonged to her”.

After Rautenbach queried the incident, security was made available 24/7 and a plan to clean the premises was approved.

“The premises was recently cleaned. However, the entire building needs an upgrade, which will include water pipes, lights and an electricity metre before the caretaker can move in. That will be my next mission – to ensure that the building is returned to its former glory. I’m a former resident of Algoa Park and the community is still of vital importance to me,” Rautenbach said.

The municipality and the ward councillor failed to respond, after two weeks of enquiries by Port Elizabeth Express for comment.

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