Den of dismay

2017-09-12 06:00
The abandoned house at 3 Elizabeth Road, Grassy Park. PHOTOS: AISHAH CASSIEM

The abandoned house at 3 Elizabeth Road, Grassy Park. PHOTOS: AISHAH CASSIEM

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Nr 3 Elizabeth Road in Grassy Park was once home to the Kleintjies family. But soon after the parents died, the home was abandoned and vandalised, reportedly luring illegal activities, including alleged drug use and ­prostitution.

Residents of the suburb are fuming, calling on the heirs to close the vandalised house to prevent further crime. People’s Post visited the property last week. The home has been stripped of structural material. Abandoned furniture is scattered across the front yard in long grass. While most items had been stolen from the premises or damaged, the inside space lies cold and empty.

Mountainview Neighbourhood Watch spokesperson Bradley Ruiters says neighbours are fed up with the situation and the apparent disinterest shown by the heirs.

“This house once belonged to an ordinary living family. If we look in the rooms we will find old posters and handwritten poems of morality still placed against the walls. After Mr and Mrs Kleintjies passed away, followed by their eldest son last year, the property was apparently just abandoned. Soon furniture was being carried away piece by piece, and it became a refuge for people hiding from the police or the neighbourhood watch,” he says.

Neighbours have told how the property attracted vagrants and “skurkies” who used drugs and were rowdy at night, says Ruiters.

“When they called the surviving son and daughter of the Kleintjies family, they were told: ‘I am busy and late for table tennis.’

“Members of the neighbourhood watch organised a cleanup of the outside of the house at the beginning of June.”

The unhygienic space is filled with urine stains, discarded condoms, bottle necks and clothing.

“Condoms are scattered which shows signs of sexual activity. Most of these rooms have been emptied and are used for drug activity, excessive drinking and prostitution. The black marks on the floor also symbolise late-night fire gatherings. Since the house had been invaded, children are being targeted and robbed in the street,” he adds.

Ruiters says residents have approached the City of Cape Town’s problem buildings unit.

According to Rosario Kleintjies, one of the two remaining siblings, the house cannot be demolished unless the City gives permission.

“To demolish the skeletons of this home will cost us a fortune and if my sister and I do it ourselves without permission from the City we will be arrested, according to the council,” says Kleintjies.

According to the City’s website a approval is required to carry out demolition work.

“I have had meetings with the City council, the heritage place, Athlone Civic Association and many others, and still await their response. We have really tried to end this situation,” says Kleintjies.

The angry heir says he has spent time in court fighting off gangsters who break in.

“I am a businessman and have to sit in court against gangsters who stole things out of the house. At one stage I just got fed up,” he explains.

“Neighbours call me awake at 02:00 and 03:00 in the morning to sort out gangsters making commotion on the premises. When I get there I need to face these gangsters alone with no help from those who called me. I was almost killed at one point trying to remove these people from the property.”

Kleintjies says he would like to build on the property in the near future.

Nastasha Kleintjies says the family met with City officials on Saturday to finalise the process.

“This is a long process and a demolishing plan is needed in order to start things. The application process is 97.3% done,” she says. “It has been a really hard and emotional period for our family after losing two brothers within two weeks. No-one is asking how the family is doing but are all complaining.

“We where even at the stage of demolishing the house ourselves due to pressure received from the neighbourhood, but the City told us to ignore them and go through the proper procedures. I don’t think going to the media was necessary,” she adds.


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