House ‘dump’ irks residents

* Lotus River residents have complained about the smells eminating from the house at 11 Montagus Place.

An awful stench coming from a flat in Lotus River is causing havoc in the neighbourhood and residents are appealing to the authorities to get a health inspector to check and organise a clean-up, or if all else fails, an eviction.

Residents said they are suffering as the smell coming from the yard in Montagu’s Place is causing them grief. They said their complaints to the City of Cape Town fell on deaf ears as the “owner and his friends” are messing up the place and attracting criminals to their area.

A few residents voiced their unhappiness to the Southern Mail. Josephine Stuart whose flat is adjacent to the “problem flat” said she has to use detergents to lesson the stench. “I spent R30 on a bottle of detergent to throw in front of my bedroom window where the smell comes up from his yard.”

Ms Stuart’s neighbour, Janine Roberts, said the owner neglects his flat and allows his friends to use it to smoke dagga and do drugs. “I can’t allow my daughter to walk freely in the roads, because there are always strange men walking in and out of that house.”

Ms Roberts said it all started when the owner’s father died a few years ago and left the place for his two sons. However, only one son is living in the house and he neglects the house. All his friends took out the bath,
the toilet and they vandalise the place.”

Fuad Titus, chairperson of the Grassy Park Community Police Forum, confirmed that the Central Park Neighbourhood Watch, operating in Lotus River, identified gang activities in that flat, in 2010, and they have tried many times to get the occupants out. “That is a free house where people abuse drugs and house stolen goods. However, the police can’t stop them from living there; it is the City that is supposed to deal with it. This house is part of the deceased father’s estate. The sons are taking advantage of this situation.

“Apart from the crime in the area, the health of the residents who live there is affected and the City needs to do something.”

Ms Roberts said the people in the house collect scrap and then they sort it out in their yard but leave the stuff they don’t need to pile up. “The place is a dumping ground.”

A year ago they took out a wheelie bin filled with excrement and wheeled it out in the road. “The whole street was a mess and we called Law Enforcement and they didn’t even want to go into the house.”

Ms Roberts said occupants also burn rubble inside the house.

Rosie Japhta said they almost caught a suspected thief red-handed in her yard. “But luckily we came out in time before they could take anything. My son saw the man run into this problem house. The police couldn’t find anyone in the house when they arrived.”

Warrant Officer Wynita Klein-smith, spokesperson for Grassy Park police, said they can confirm that regular searches were conducted at Montagu’s Place.

Margaret Roberts said she has been living in the area for more than 40 years and while it had always been peaceful, “Crime has increased for the past 15 years.”

Una Demink said she grew up in the area and residents have had enough of crime and are taking ownership of their area. “We can’t send our kids to the shop alone, nor can we allow them to walk in the streets.”

Johanna Lendore said: “We are ratepayers and we want something to be done. These people can’t just dump dirt in our area. Once they dumped rubbish in our electric box outside in the street. We can’t allow that.”

Siyabulela Mamkeli, the mayoral committee member for health, responded, saying: “The City’s environmental health department conducted an inspection at Montagu’s Place (11 Stephen Road, Erf 8245) in Lotus River and will issue a notice in terms of the Environmental Health By-law to the owner to remove all the waste material and clean up the property.”

* When Southern Mail visited the property, a group of men took off when they saw our reporter.