Health risk at family’s front door

A neighbour made a home on the landing shared by another family.

The Grobbelaar family of 12 De Korte Court in Lavender Hill have been suffering endless confrontations with a neighbour who has been squatting on their shared landing since June.

They say the man is causing a hindrance at the council block and putting their health at risk as they all suffer from comorbidities.

Jacqueline Grobbelaar and her daughter Celeste have been trying for months to get neighbour John Arendse’s son, Joseph, to leave the third floor landing where he has been sleeping on a chair surrounded by rubbish.

Ms Grobbelaar said she was forced to apply for an interdict against Mr Arendse on Monday November 16 to prevent harassment. The Grobbelaars said Mr Arendse made himself a home on the landing after he was kicked out of his father’s flat.

The family claim they have to endure foul smells, rubbish strewn everywhere and have to tolerate his friends also being on the landing.

Ms Grobbelaar said they worry about the lack of social distancing when Mr Arendse’s friends come around as both Ms Grobbelaar and her husband Cornelius suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol. Their daughter Celeste suffers from asthma so they are all high risk should they contract Covid-19, she said.

Ms Grobbelaar said she was shocked when Mr Arendse recently made a fire on the landing and when they asked him to put it out, he ignored them.

Ms Grobbelaar said she was frustrated as she has tried almost every avenue to have Mr Arendse remove his belongings, including regularly complaining at the Retreat Housing Office.

“They said they were going to send Law Enforcement but no one came.

“The City’s health inspector was at the site a month ago and the inspector spoke to John Arendse who protected his son saying that his son is sleeping in front of his house and not the Grobbelaars,” said Ms Grobbelaar.

However, Ms Grobbelaar said she can’t even open her window, “as his dirt pollutes the air and I still have to hang my washing on the lines above the landing.”

Ms Grobbelaar said she is embarrassed to invite her family over.

“My sister’s children are not used to this sight and they are now not able to play on the landing due to the filth.”

Ms Grobbelaar said Steenberg police came out on Friday morning, November 13, and suggested that she take out a restraining order against Mr Arendse. Sergeant Wesley Twigg, spokesperson for Steenberg police, confirmed that police had advised her to apply for an interdict.

“The police will be able to make an arrest if the accused violates whatever is written on the protection order,” said Sergeant Twigg.

Southern Mail tried to get hold of John Arendse but his number was not listed.

Malusi Booi, mayoral committee member for human settlements, said the City is looking into this matter and will provide feedback to the residents as soon as possible.

“In general, the City’s Public Housing Department evicts with a court order for unlawful occupation and anti-social behaviour often linked to, but not limited to, gangsterism and drug dealing to protect our tenants, among others. The City will investigate the complaints.”