‘Threatened’ for speaking out

2017-12-19 06:00
Jacques Matroos.PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

Jacques Matroos.PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

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A caretaker at the old Claremont Bowling Club pours out his heart just a few weeks after an article on negligence by the trustees (“Who’s bowling now?”, People’s Post, 28 November).

Complaints were raised by concerned residents over the state of the building at the site since the land was officially handed over to the claimants by the State.

The R27m bowling club in Bowwood Road in Claremont was reportedly taken away from the claimants under the Group Areas Act of the apartheid government, but a successful land claim was made. Following a process lasting more than five years, it was transferred to them in June this year by the Land Claims Commission. Now the trust has the responsibility to maintain the site and decide on its future.

The caretaker, Jacques Matroos, confirms complaints reported by the community, which include the deteriorating condition of the building, illegal activities taking place on the open land on the site, and the lack of security. Government officials have revealed that the site belongs to the trust.

Although the trustees failed to respond to People’s Post, they have reportedly taken action against Matroos by threatening to evict him from a building which he has spent four years looking after, allegedly without pay.

Matroos says he has been allegedly exploited because he has nowhere else to live. He says he met with the trustees in 2013 when he was illegally occupying the building and the trustees were still busy with land claims. They then reached a verbal agreement.

“They told me to work and we would discuss the amount at the end of the month. It was fine with me, because I needed a place to stay. I worked at the site tirelessly, hoping they would pay me. Nobody ever cared to find out how I was living and what was happening in the building. Now that the irregularities have been in the paper, they want me to leave,” says Matroos.

People’s Post was unable to reach the trust for comment.

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