Run-down house raises ire

The derelict house on the corner of Hess Road and Seventh Avenue, in Lotus River is attracting criminal elements.

Lotus River residents are appealing to the authorities to find the owner of a derelict house on the corner of Hess Road and Seventh Avenue because, they say, for the past year and a half “thugs” have illegally occupied the house, attracting criminal elements.

Although the Grassy Park police station commander Colonel Shawn van Wyk, said they have received no reports on such activities taking place at this house, the chairperson of Alpha Neighbourhood Watch, from Lotus River, Denzel Walbrugh, said they “caught a man using tik, but they only confiscated the tik and chased the man away”.

“We patrol thrice every night and we caught a guy doing tik and took his drugs off and left. (sic) We only start patrolling at 10pm, because many of us are working.”

Asked why they do not report incidents to the police, he said: “In this case, where we caught the guy with tik, we didn’t want to wait that long for the police. The police sometimes take their time and other times they are on the ball.”

He said although they are aware of the derelict house, they do not know what goes on in the house during the day.

Resident Peter Hendricks, whose sister Carol Abrahams lives opposite the house, said: “The house was recently sold, but we do not know who the owner is. I have been chatting to ward councillor Patricia van der Ross, since January 1, but didn’t get any response.”

His sister said she had seen many suspicious things happening around the house.

“The wood and iron house has lots of trees in front. After the owner sold the house three years ago, no one lived in it and it has deteriorated since the owner left,” Ms Abrahams said. “The house was taken apart by vandals. At first the water meter was taken out, then copper pipes were stolen.”

She said she commended the Alpha Neighbourhood Watch who have been patrolling every night.

However, because they only patrol at night, they do not know what happens during the day. Ms Abrahams said she once witnessed an incident involving two teenage girls, which happened during the day.

“Two Saturdays ago, at 5pm, my little niece and I were passing the house and she saw two girls about 14 or 15 years old standing outside the house but one girl went inside. I followed her into the house and asked her why she is going in that house.

“She told me that she had lost her necklace in the house. I told her to get out of the house or else I would go and find her parents. Not long after that two men came out of the house.

“My daughter later saw the same girl go into her own house not far from here. My daughter went into the house and spoke to the girl’s father, who said he will look into the matter.”

Ms Abrahams said she did not call the police because she “does not have faith in them”.

Ms Abrahams has been living in Seventh Avenue since 1971 and reckons the derelict house can be just about as old as her property is.

“They must find the owners or the City must demolish the house. Meanwhile our neighbours are in danger.

“We had to raise our walls because someone climbed over and we had a copper tap stolen, about 18 months ago,” she said.

“I am worried about our children’s safety. We hear too often how women get killed.”

She said the derelict house “is in ruins. We saw the gate was recently stolen and the Vibracrete was torn down.

“The windows are all broken or out and I am afraid this house is becoming a crack house if someone doesn’t do anything about it.”

When asked for comment on the matter, the City of Cape Town said it’s Problem Building Unit was investigating.

When asked to comment on allegations that police were slow to respond to call-outs, Colonel van Wyk said he suspects residents could be dialling the wrong numbers to connect with the police.

Colonel Van Wyk advised residents to call him at 082 778 7012, Lieutenant Colonel Johan van Ede at 082 469 2869 or Constable Carol Strauss at 072 845 8991 to report any criminal activities should they experience difficulty in connecting with the charge office.

Alternatively, residents can also call 10111.