Solution sought for site

2019-03-12 06:01
Cape Town Association for the Physically Disabled CEO Wilfried Diedricks stands outside the section which residents have complained about.PHOTO: Earl Haupt

Cape Town Association for the Physically Disabled CEO Wilfried Diedricks stands outside the section which residents have complained about.PHOTO: Earl Haupt

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The Cape Town Association for the Physically Disabled (Cape Town APD) find themselves in a compromising situation.

This comes after the City of Cape Town’s environmental health office served the NGO a notice which orders them to remove litter, rubble and overgrown vegetation which has not only become an eyesore, but also a drawcard to would-be criminals and vagrants.

The land located on the western portion of Tarentaal Road which becomes Loerie Road is privately owned by Cape Town APD and stretches either side of its premises between Star College in the eastern side and Sipres Avenue in the west, bordering on Bhunga Avenue. The notice is a result of the surrounding community expressing their dismay at the continual neglect to the unfenced area which has fallen victim to continual illegal dumping.

CEO for Cape Town APD Wilfried Diedricks says the organisation is in dire need of funds in order to construct a new fence but admits that while it will act as a deterrent to potential dumpers in future, it is not the silver bullet.

“I asked the councilor (Rashid Adams) maybe for a skip or a container so that the people if they want to dump, dump it in those. We want people to throw rubbish in bins. We’ve got space here (for bins and containers) if residents are saying that they cannot go to the drop-off facility,” says Diedricks.

He urges residents to report illegal dumping and other illegal activity. Diedricks is also appealing to residents to volunteer to help them clear the area of the rubble, as the City’s solid waste department cannot intervene as the land is privately owned.

“This kind of thing (appealing to the community) has been done through the decades. Charities or non-profit organisations asking the public for help. All we need now is a group of helpers to pick up,” he says.

One such volunteer is Bridgetown resident Arnold Zietsmann. He says the community should take pride in the area as it can be a source of upliftment to them, but all they need to do is give up their time, and that money is not the only resource Cape Town APD need.

“People need to start to learn that it is not always about money. Sometimes, you have to give, and you will receive. If you don’t have money to give, you can give of your own time, which is another capital which you can share,” he says.

Meanwhile, ward 49 councilor Adams says the City has cleaned the areas in question in the past, but because the area is privately owned, the City can do little else to help the situation any further.

“It is a massive area and I see their plight too, but we also put solutions on the table,” says Adams.

Of the solutions suggested, a proposal was tabled by the Bridgetown neighbourhood watch where they would patrol the area as well as furnish the cost it would take to clear the area. In return, they asked for usage of the Unity Hall, located next to Cape Town Association for the Physically Disabled’s main premises, for recreational activities.

Adams suggests that with the neighbourhood watch volunteering to clean up the unity hall, field, maintaining it and managing it on a daily basis, at the expense of the Bridgetown NHW, Cape Town APD would have been free of the burden of that section of their property, which in turn, would have helped curb the illegal activity which is still taking place in the area.

Adams adds Diedricks turned down the proposal and as a result, the building fell victim to criminal activity. When People’s Post visited the area last week, a vagrant was found sleeping in one of the abandoned storage rooms.

“We were very sad that APD was not interested in the offer which was put on the table for them to consider. Also, I had a meeting with the principal of Star College at a later stage and he was interested in the piece of ground between the school and APD,” says Adams.

This proposal too was turned down according to Adams, stating that meetings to further address the matter have yet to materialise. “Let me put the record straight. That meeting between the school, myself and Mr. Diedricks never took place. Subsequent to that, we have had numerous calls from the community complaining about the dirt and the dumping,” Adams says, adding: “We are still trying to get an appointment with Mr Diedricks. We have called his offices on numerous occasions and we have sent emails to which they have never responded. He must not say that there is going to be a meeting when his office fails to respond to a request to have a meeting.”

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