Barkly House now a danger

2017-07-04 06:00
Left: Barkly House in Claremont is risky for learners of nearby schools and residents of Harfield Road.Above: One of the nearby residents shows the interior of the vandalised Barkly House.PHOTOs: Nomzamo yuku

Left: Barkly House in Claremont is risky for learners of nearby schools and residents of Harfield Road.Above: One of the nearby residents shows the interior of the vandalised Barkly House.PHOTOs: Nomzamo yuku

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A former teaching school, Barkly House in Claremont, has turned into a crime spot after being neglected for three years.

The building in Harfield Road is close to two schools, Claremont High School and Greenfield Girls’ Primary School.

It is reported that the building was used as a teacher’s college many years ago and was later converted into a pre-primary school which moved in about 2014.

According to a resident who did not want to be named the building was in good condition when the pre-primary school left the premises. However, over the years, it worsened. It allegedly became a drug-dealing spot, prostitutes would work from the building and homeless people invaded the house at night.

Some learners have to go past the building on their way to and from school.

Residents say they fear the negative impact the exposure might have to the learners and residents of Harfield Road.

They want government officials to take action, secure the building and make it inaccessible to members of the public while still deciding on what to do about it.

One resident says: “There must be a security system here and the gate must be locked at all times. This building has now became a risk to our children and community members. You cannot walk here in the evenings because there is always a group of men standing there smoking their stuff. You do not know what their agenda is.

“I came to this building last month and I found two men and a woman. The one man was in the passage while the other one was coming out of the room pulling up his pants followed by a woman who was also fixing her clothes. They left immediately and it was clear what was going on. We don’t want sex workers in our community. We want the government to quickly do something and save our young ­generation.”

Learners of Claremont High say they are not happy with what is happening in the building and they would like to see it being developed to benefit their school.

Mika-eel Khan, a Grade 9 learner, says: “Though I am not directly affected, some learners have once told us they saw dodgy guys at the building. They walk past it every day; they see scary things I cannot explain. It is unsafe. We would like to see something done there to benefit us.”

Edward Doe, foreman of the school, confirms that learners have reported to their parents on the illegal things happening in the building. Doe says the school then tried to intervene and installed lights outside the building with the hope to intimidate squatters. He says the school is in negotiations with the provincial departments of education and public works about possible developments.

Jessica Shelver, spokesperson of the provincial education department, says her department’s officials are aware of the situation at the building and it will be attended to soon.

“We are aware of the matter and have arranged to transfer funds to Claremont High School so that they can appoint additional security. The building is set to be demolished as part of the expansion project for Claremont High. The department of transport and public works have accelerated the demolition process to ensure that works begin as soon as possible. They are still, however, awaiting a demolition permit,” she says.

Siphesihle Dube, spokesperson of the provincial minister of transport and public works, says the department is not involved in the building, saying it is the property of the education department.

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