Ire at lack of maintenance at courts

A small community in Retreat has once again asked the City of Cape Town to step in and upgrade their council-owned homes but it seems there are no plans on the cards to do so.

Residents from Sterling, Horsley, Ayare, Albertus and Lesar (SHAAL) courts, off Joe Marks Boulevard, under the guidance and representation of the SHAAL Civic Forum, have raised concerns about the state of the council-owned flats.

They are also worried about the frequent change of councillors, claiming this resulted in their demands for upgrades and maintenance being “disregarded” (“’Forgotten’ community on Southgate’s radar”, Southern Mail, July 15,
2015).

Before 2015, Jan Burger was the ward councillor for Ward 72 which the residents of the courts were part of at the time.

Mr Burger retired in 2015 and Kevin Southgate took over as ward councillor after a by-election.

Last year the wards were demarcated and the flats became part of Ward 110 where Shanen Rossouw is councillor.

Joyce Hector, forum chairperson, who has been living at Sterling Court for 30 years, said getting service delivery and maintenance for the flats has always been a struggle.

“Our window sills are crumbling and injuring children, we have cracked walls, broken doors and windows resulting in leaks, broken toilets, cracked staircases but our pleas for an upgrade or at least more
maintenance has time and time
again fell on deaf ears,” said Ms Hector.

“People have been reporting their faults to the Retreat housing office but they either don’t pitch to fix the problem or when they do come they do sub-par work. We eventually are forced to hire people to fix some of our maintenance issues but that is unfair because we have to pay for it out of our own pockets,” she add-
ed.

The five blocks of flats were built almost 45 years ago.

Albertus Court resident Hermanus Williams said their small community has been forgotten. “We are being neglected because none of our concerns have been addressed and this is nothing new. We are fed up with the treatment from the City and want some more money to be invested into our homes. There’s money for everything else but not money to better our living conditions,” said Mr Williams.

At the time, Mr Southgate said he raised the issues of the condition of the flats.

Current ward councillor Shanen Rossouw said the resident’s concerns are high on her agenda. “We as the City will sit and decide how we can assist them because they have been reporting their complaints but there has been no follow-up on it. I want to still encourage residents to report their complaints so that there can be a record and the necessary steps can be taken,” said Ms Rossouw.

Eddie Andrews, Mayco member for area south, said a team from the upgrades and maintenance department will assess the homes affected.

“The term tender contractors are scheduled to be appointed in September of this financial year and will attend to the maintenance concerns raised,” he said.

When Southern Mail asked if the flats were going to be upgraded, Mr Andrews said the day-to-day maintenance repairs are carried out at the blocks of flats as part of the upgrades and maintenance asset management plan.

“The upgrades and maintenance team is committed to the maintenance of all City-owned rental stock. Tenants are encouraged to log their maintenance requests either at the Retreat Housing Office or via the City’s Call Centre on 0860 103 089. The faults can only be attended to if they are brought to the attention of the City,” said Mr Andrews.

He added that the City would be increasing its maintenance staff complement during the current financial year. “The increased maintenance staff complement will enable the City to respond much quicker to such issues in our rental units in future,” he said,