Municipality 'not aware' of stolen cars at Krugersdorp elderly home

2015-06-10 09:42
Pioneer Home for the elderly in Krugersdorp. (Mpho Raborife, News24)

Pioneer Home for the elderly in Krugersdorp. (Mpho Raborife, News24)

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Johannesburg - The Mogale City municipality is not aware of any stolen vehicles at the Pioneer Home, a complex for the elderly which it owns in Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg.

"Corporate Support Administration is not aware of any car theft within the period mentioned," spokesperson Nkosana Zali said.

"No incidents of theft have come to our attention and we cannot respond on that."

He said the municipality was aware of an attempt to steal a vehicle at the premises and had advised tenants to report the matter to the police.

Last week, News24 published an article titled "Krugersdorp elderly 'sitting ducks' for criminals".

Three couples living at Pioneer Home told News24 how neglected they felt by the municipality and the police. One couple, aged 68 and 74 respectively, said their car was stolen in broad daylight by a group of young men in December.

The pair had just thrown a party. They described how defenceless they felt as they watched their car exit the complex and disappear from their view.

Easy target

Pioneer Home is surrounded by a prison, a cemetery and an open field. The municipality-owned property has walls no higher than a metre and four rusted gates which are locked using short chains and padlocks.

The residents have voiced their concern about the lack of effort and involvement by the police in the area to target criminals who often loiter around the complex and at the cemetery.

Zali said on Tuesday that the municipality's Public Safety Security patrolled the area.

The residents also described the cold reception they receive when trying to address issues of safety and building maintenance with the municipality.

Bill, 85, and Maria Thomas, 72, are the oldest couple at the complex. This is their 15th year living at Pioneer Home.

‘Can’t afford a flat’

The couple lives on a monthly pension grant of about R1 420 each.

Maria has told News24 that the only reason they have stayed at the home for so long is because they could not afford to rent a flat.

Paint has peeled off the walls in her bathroom due to a geyser which burst many years ago. She said she had tried numerous times to get the municipality to repaint the room, to no avail.

"For the last 14 years, all we've been hearing is that we must wait for the next year's budget. But they're not interested, they're not.

"We pay R266 [for rent a month] and we pay for our own electricity. We've got to pay rent, we've got to pay for the lights, we've got to pay for the car - the car doesn't run on water."

The ceiling in her bedroom often leaks when it rains, this is another issue she raised with the municipality, she said.

‘A losing game’

"It's bad, it is really bad and every year when I approach them, they tell me 'When the next budget comes up' and every year I'm on their backs but... it is a losing game really, it is the same old story. I really get mad when I hear 'The next budget'.''

Zali said the municipality would take appropriate action "within its limited resources to ensure safety of residents".

Some News24 readers have offered to assist some of the residents at the complex through donating money, helping to improve the security features for free or even donating electrical items such as a heater.

Zali was yet to confirm whether the municipality would allow any renovations to be done on the property by members of the public.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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