Lavender Hill flats petrol-bombed

Residents of Wicht Court in Lavender Hill have to deal with the aftermath of an alleged petrol-bomb attack.

Police are investigating what residents believe was a petrol bomb attack at Wicht Court in Lavender Hill in the early morning hours of Monday November 2.

According to residents the flatlet at the block of flats that was attacked is known for housing gang activity. They said this had been reported to authorities but nothing had come of their complaints.

A resident, who didn’t want to be named, said it was sad that the “minority (gangsters) ruled the majority”.

“Innocent people are suffering because of the social ills occurring at the court,” she said.

“Our hearts are saddened because we are peaceful people trying to help and build our community. We reported these issues with all the relevant stakeholders but until today nothing has happened. Must we take the law into our own hands?”

Of Monday morning’s alleged petrol bombing and illegal activity at the flat, she said: “Look at the ripple effect it had on all the other tenants.

An 85-year-old woman had to flee to her daughter because of what was happening at the flat. This has been going on since 2017 and people are traumatised. It cannot continue like this. We cannot allow gangsters to rule but we need help,” she said.

Ward councillor Shannon Rossouw said she was made aware of the bombing early Monday morning and held a meeting on Monday afternoon to address the concerns and to hopefully come to a resolution.

“It is extremely sad and unfair to those law-abiding citizens to now suffer. One of the neighbour’s furniture was destroyed in what is believed to be a gang attack. According to residents the flat in question was reported at the housing office for drug and gang activity but there was no further information,” said Ms Rossouw.

“If there’s a problem house that needs to be dealt with but it slips through the justice system’s cracks.

Issues like these go to court and then remediation needs to be done but it takes years to get problem tenants out of the City of Cape Town’s rental stock. Now innocent people and senior neighbours especially must pay the price. We on the City’s side have tried but there needs to be work put in from law enforcement, police and rental offices to get rid of problem tenants.”

Steenberg police spokesperson, Sergeant Wesley Twigg, confirmed the fire at the flat but said the cause of the fire was unknown at the time of going to print: “Fire and Rescue Services will conduct a preliminary investigation. No foul play expected at this stage.”

Jermaine Carelse, spokesperson for the City’s Fire and Rescue Services, said emergency services were called out at 2.24am, with fire crews from Lakeside, Ottery, Constantia and Fish Hoek being dispatched. He said eight informal structures and two cars had been destroyed in the fire.

“A flat on the first floor sustained damages when the heat of the fire cracked the window and the flames made their way into the flat, while a flat on the second floor also sustained some damages. A number of persons were displaced and no injuries were reported,” said Mr Carelse.

The fire, the cause of which he was unable to confirm, was extinguished at 4.09am.

Charles Daniels from the Lavender Hill Civic Association said there had been numerous complaints about three or four drug houses in Wicht Court: “People seem to be too scared to speak up because they are threatened and are afraid for their lives. The other problem is that law enforcement don’t always come out when people report these drug houses.

“The community and all other stakeholders need to work together as a collective to help with these problem houses.”