‘Humans cannot live here’

2015-09-22 06:00
A homeless woman walks pass the property in Ebor Road which has been registered as a problem building. 

astrid februarie

A homeless woman walks pass the property in Ebor Road which has been registered as a problem building. PHOTO: astrid februarie

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With no proper toilet facility and no bath or shower residents living in properties in Ebor Road are forced to use a bucket to wash themselves.

This is according to a resident, Regis Ndayishimiye, who says despite paying his rent every month he lives in appauling conditions with his family.

“We have no choice but to stay here, where else should we go? I wish property managers could do something to restore the property,” he says.

Ndayishimiye says he pays R1 500 rent every month for “basically a place to sleep”, but is unable to bath or shower as the pipes are broken.

“We have to use one tap where we collect water in a bucket and use that to clean ourselves. This is inhumane and feel like we are being taken for granted due to our financial constraints,” he says.

He says there are about six families who live in the double storey property while there are also families living in the single storey downstairs.

“This is not a way to live and we would appreciate it if the property manager could do something to restore the place to ensure we are not at risk of falling ill and the property being misused for illegal activties.”

Ndayishimiye says he believes there are prostitutes and drug dealers living on the property and due to the condition of the property it attracts “various characters” to conduct illegal activity from the property.

“Weekends are the worst, people party, I see how people in fancy cars pick up the prosititutes or they park off here and do their business,” he says.

A business owner in Ebor Road, who declined to be identified says his business is affected daily by the activities in the road.

“The property brings bad business and many of my clients refuse to leave their vehicles there to be serviced because of what they see in the street. This is not fair,” he says.

Richard Bosman, executive director for Safety and Security for the City of Cape Town, confirmed that these buildings are on the list of problem buildings according to the City’s Problem Building Unit (PBU). “The buildings are derelict and have been vandalised,” he says.

“The PBU will charge the owners a tariff of R5 000 a month once the property is declared a problem building. If the owners fail to comply with the notices issued, they will be taken to the Municipal Court for prosecution,” he says.

Die Burger previously reported that (“The trouble with Ebor Road,” Tuesday March 2008) tenants of a Wynberg complex have been given notice to vacate the building after it was fingered by police as a hub of drug abuse and prostitution.

[Former] Inspector Ezra October, spokesperson for the Wynberg Police Station at the time, said the complex, located in Ebor Road just off Wynberg Main Road and opposite Wellington Road, has been the constant target of police raids for years, without them succeeding in permanently closing the complex down.

October said that apartment number four was closed down by police in November last year [2007], only for illegal activities to have see­mingly moved underground.

According to October, 74 drug-related arrests were made in the proximity of the complex between April and December 2007 – four for dea­ling and 70 for possession. The property is also raided “almost daily”.

He explains that another problem is gaining access to the property. When police eventually gain entry to the heavily gated property, people inside have had ample time to get rid of illegal substances.

October said number three Ebor Road is under management of Jonathan Katz, who is also the executor of the estate after the owner died almost two years ago [2006].

Katz, (at the time of the article going to print) confirmed he has been informed by the police and is indeed aware of the situation, but is adamant there is no association or any involvement between him and the activities of his tenants.

“We want our building back,” he said when asked if notice has been given to the tenants.

Councillor Siyabulela Mamkeli, Maycomember for Health says on Friday 18 September City Health officials conducted an inspection at the following properties: 8, 10, and 27 Ebor Road in Wynberg.

And reported that at 8 Ebor Road City health officials found no health nuisances. “The two toilets are fully functional and the shower, wash basin and sink are all functional, with an efficient water supply. There was no waste accumulation on the property,” he says.

While at 10 Ebor Road the officials found that no health nuisance exists as all six toilet facilities are fully functional with an adequate water supply.

“There is no accumulation of domestic waste and the sewers are not overflowing. The only health concern was that a petrol generator was operated in a covered yard area,” Mamkeli says.

Officials found no significant health nuisances that would require any formal action from the Environmental Health Section.”

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