Residents want run-down house removed

The abandoned house in Lotus River.

Neighbours of a derelict house in Lotus River fear for their safety after the house was abandoned about four years ago.

The privately-owned house in Fifth Avenue has attracted homeless people as well as drug users.

Neighbour Farentino Adams said the house had caused much frustration among residents in the area.

Mr Adams said the house had invited a wave of crime and drug-related issues that had left the community both frustrated and fearful. Aside from the drug addicts using it daily, the house had also been a target for thieves who had gutted it of wiring, plumbing, copper pipes and light switches.

Mr Adams said criminals used the house as a lair from where they robbed those who pass by in the main road. They had also burgled neighbouring homes.

Mr Adams’s father, Bonito Adams, who has been living in the area for almost 29 years, said that on many occasions they had confronted the people squatting in the house.

“We put our lives in danger by trying to chase these people away and nothing is being done by police or the City of Cape Town. We are at our wits’ end and want some type of resolution because the situation is only going to get worse if something is not done about this house,” said Mr Adams sr.

“I have even started a petition to get support to throw the house down or board it up but nothing has come from it,” he said.

Christian Mathesa, who has been living in the area for 19 years, also voiced his concerns about the house.

“There are always guys hanging out at the house and it puts our children in danger. We have been in contact with the City of Cape Town and the ward councillor Patricia van de Ross but nothing has come of it. This house needs to be demolished because at the moment it is causing a lot of concern for the whole community,” said Mr Mathesa.

Ms Van der Ross said she had received two complaints about the property.

“The complaints are of a criminal nature, which makes the South African Police Service the primary agency responsible. However, I brought the matter to the attention of the City’s law enforcement department too. I will also register the property as a derelict property, but I am awaiting feedback from the City’s enforcement services,” said Ms Van der Ross.

Area south mini mayor Eddie Andrews, said no formal complaints had been directed to City’s environmental health department or the problem buildings unit.

“Representatives from these departments
are finalising a site visit to determine what, if any, action can be taken in respect of the property. If the City is satisfied that the building is indeed a health or safety risk, the relevant depart-
ment will issue a compliance notice to the owner in terms of the appropriate by-law,” said Mr Andrews.

“Should the owner not comply, they are summoned to appear in court, where they can be fined or imprisoned, depending on the circumstances of the case,” he said.

Mr Andrews added that if the property was deemed a problem building, a docket would be opened for investigation and action taken against the owner to ensure compliance and safeguarding the property from illegal occupation.

“The City’s enforcement services will assist where possible, but we simply do not have the resources to keep up the level of visible patrols on our own,” said Mr Andrews.

Grassy Park police spokeswoman Constable Carol Strauss said police would investigate complaints and send out a vehicle to inspect the property.

Southern Mail was not able to contact the owner of the house.