Nuisance building

The City of Cape Town has confirmed that a derelict building in Lotus River will be demolished.

While what was once a cricket clubhouse, and the sports field in Buck, Road Lotus River, were previously used to host sports matches, they now housed vagrants, drug users and criminals.

This is according to residents who have asked the City to do something about the state of the dilapidated building.

Harold Lottering, a community worker and Lotus River resident, said the building had been an eyesore and crime hot spot for years.

“People used to play sports at the clubhouse because it was central and accessible for the community. Then things started going down because the place was vandalised and more and more criminal activities took place, pushing the sports activities out completely because people were too scared to play at the field,” said Mr Lotter-
ing.

The building has been stripped of all wires, taps, ablution facilities and anything of value and all that’s left are piles of rubble and tent-like structures that were put up by the vagrants who occupy the building now.

Mr Lottering said many people had been robbed and attacked while walking past the building.

“We have received so many complaints. Opposite the building is a bushed up area so it’s easy for criminals to target people and get away easily. The City of Cape Town needs to do something before someone gets seriously hurt,” he said.

Resident Jeff Plaatjies has complained about the building to the sub-council.

“I went to sub-council myself and complained because this building is a hazard. There are unsavoury characters who are living there, there are gangsters going in and out there and it’s a danger. People can’t walk down Buck Road because they’re scared of getting robbed or hurt. I hope the City repairs the place,” said Mr Plaatjies.

Mr Lottering said it would be more beneficial to the community for the building to be revamped.

“We don’t have many sports facilities in our community so we need it to be fixed so that our children and youngsters can use it again,” he said.

However, Suzette Little, acting Mayco member for area south said even though the structure isn’t officially on the City’s list of problem buildings, the City had no choice but to dispose of it because of ongoing vandalism.

“The City has engaged with role-players in the surrounding area to protect the facility against vandalism and previously employed security staff to protect the facility but this proved to have little effect on the destruction of the asset. This facility is located in a volatile environment,” said Ms Little.

She added there were no plans to upgrade because it was situated in an isolated area and had been vandalised on many occasions after repairs had been effected.

The City also erected palisade fencing at the premises to protect the facility from unwanted access. But, she said, “The fence was systematically removed by vandals from the surrounding community and was replaced by the City. It is not sustainable to keep on repairing the same facility.”

Ms Little encouraged resi-dents to take ownership of facilities in their communities.

“Residents can organise into neighbourhood watch bodies or facility management committees and report vandals destroying community facilities. They can also work with the ward councillor’s ward committee for sport,” she said.

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