Barracks to be thrown down

Two council-owned buildings in Arnold Wilhelm Street, Parow, which have been used as police barracks, are set to be demolished.

The buildings, behind Parow SAPS and the magistrate’s, regional and sexual offences courts, were leased from the City of Cape Town, on behalf of SAPS, by the national Department of Public Works (DPW).

Council advertised the planned demolition of two buildings, one on erf 7721 and another on erf 7720, in November last year, when it called for public comment. According to that notice, the single quarters are on erf 7720 and the married quarters are on erf 7721.

The City said there were no objections to its plan and it “will undertake the demolition.”

But the DPW told Northern News it knew nothing about the plan, and, as far as it was concerned, the lease was still in place.

“forboth offices and married quarters”. DPW spokesman Thami Mchunu said: “We have not been notified of any demolition plans that might affect our tenancy.”

However, Stuart Diamond, the City’s mayoral committee member for assets and facility management, said only office space and the single quarters were still in the lease with the DPW, but the City wanted the single quarters to be excluded so they could be demolished.

The married quarters, Mr Diamond said, had already been excluded.

A City document comparing rentals of various council-owned properties, and dated January of this year, states that a portion of erf 7720 and 7721, (the police quarters) is leased at R112 470 a month.

The document says: “The monthly rentals are effective and payable as from 01.01.16”. The rental, the document notes, would increase by 8 percent annually.

The buildings, which are partly-boarded up with planks, look worse for wear, litter is strewn in the front and a burnt-out pallet is stacked against a wall.

Mr Diamond said the property had been vandalised while in the possession of DPW.

“The property was subsequently handed back to the City and we immediately secured the site with 24-hour security,” he said.

Northern News saw no security when we visited the property, which is next to a City-owned workshop, and opposite its Ficus administrative building.

Parow SAPS spokesman Captain Kevin Williams confirmed the married quarters had been vacant for some time, while only a handful of officers lived in the single quarters.

He said they had been given notice to vacate by SAPS’s provincial legal services last year.

* Northern News previously reported on DPW’s plans to build a mega court in Goodwood (“New court in the pipeline,” Northern News, December 14, 2016). Last year, it said it was “still exploring the viability of building a new court on the existing site”, where it is currently leasing the court building from the City on Voortrekker Road. At the time, there was talk of merging Parow and Goodwood courts.

Both buildings are leased from the City. DPW said the two courts had been separated because of space constraints, but “in the planning and designing of a new facility, the courts will be merged.”

Last week, however, when Northern News asked what the plans were for relocation of Parow court, Mr Mchunu said: “There are no plans as we have a lease with the City of Cape Town.”