Crèche told to leave derelict site

2016-03-08 06:00
Penny Way, owner of Butterfly Way Educare in Vrygrond, is being evicted from the City-owned land she has used for nine years. But the City says the premises are not fit for use. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

Penny Way, owner of Butterfly Way Educare in Vrygrond, is being evicted from the City-owned land she has used for nine years. But the City says the premises are not fit for use. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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A crèche owner and her 40 children are close to being kicked off City-owned land in Vrygrond.

Penny Way, who runs the Butterfly Way Educare, says she has received eviction letters – one after the other – and the latest one clearly stated that she had to be out of the building by 1 February.

Way says she is having sleepless nights and has no alternative place to go to. Over the past nine years, she says, she has been trying to do things by the book and to make sure that she legally leases the land.

Ian Neilson, Mayco member for finance, says due process has been followed and, therefore, it is vital that the court order be complied with.

“On 3 November 2015, the Simon’s Town Magistrate’s Court granted an eviction order for the illegal occupants of erf 82491 to vacate the City-owned property by 31 January 2016.

“The City is of the opinion that these buildings, which are illegally occupied, are not fit for occupation and there is no infrastructure, such as running water amongst other things, which is a serious concern as it poses health and safety risks, particularly as children are involved.

“Legally, and for humanitarian purposes, premises in such dire conditions cannot be leased.”

Way says when she started the crèche she paid rent to the Vrygrond development trust, until she stopped four to five years ago as she didn’t get its help.

She has lost count of how many documents she submitted to the City of Cape Town. She has also tried to involve ward councillor Shaun August, but she has been told to wait. The frustrated crèche owner says she got a blow when August told her to move for a while and then come back when things settle.

“I said no to that. I had to put my foot down, because if I move out of here there will be nothing to come back to. The place will be vandalised.

“This is a paradise for my kids. They like it here. There is a lot of space for them to play and there is so much equipment – what are we going to do with it? All I want is just to get a piece of land to lease.”

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