City disputes camp filth claims

A handful of pensioners who call the Kuils River Caravan Park home say the City isn’t cleaning the facility and is putting the squeeze on them to pay exorbitant rates to force them to leave.

The group say visitors often leave a trail of dirt, stompies, beer bottles, and, sometimes even blood if there’s a fight.

Lorraine Strydom, 73, is one of the four pensioners living at the City-owned caravan park, sharing it with campers and holidaymakers.

Ms Strydom said City cleaning staff took naps there all day instead of doing what they’re paid to do.

On Mondays, the toilets overflowed with human excrement because of the visiting campers, she said.

The pensioners say they have to pay rates of up to R2 000 at times – as they share water with the visiting campers – even though the City knows their pensions are only R1 500.

She said the City had threatened them with eviction many times and they suspect they’re being squeezed for rates to get them out of the park.

“The City has been trying to get rid of us,” said Ms Strydom.
She said if the City wanted to remove them, it should build them houses.

Ms Strydom showed the Northern News her cost of accommodation letter from the City, which showed that she was asked to pay R2 418 on August 1, R2 418 on September 1, R499 on June 10 and R1 872 on April 1.

Ms Strydom said the City only started demanding rates recently when rumours that the park would be developed started doing the rounds.

“We pay the rates, but sometimes we can’t afford them,” said Ms Strydom.

“I have skipped four months this year because my husband had to undergo an operation and I couldn’t afford to pay for the medical costs and for the rates.”

Anda Ntsondo, the City’s mayoral committee member for community services, said caravan park concessions to pensioners were limited to short-term stays and did not allow for “permanent residents”.

“These residents are well aware that they are not allowed to stay permanently, but in spite of this they have been staying for a lengthy period. “Initially they paid a monthly fee, but with the introduction of a uniform tariff system in the City of Cape Town, that changed to a daily tariff fee.”

Mr Ntsondo said the residents had been told about the tarrifs but had not been paying regularly. “They have outstanding fees,” he said.

He said the City’s 17 caravan parks do not allow permanent residents.

Legal action had been taken to evict the pensioners, but it had been unsuccessful and the matter had now been referred to the Rental Housing Tribunal.

However, tribunal spokesman, Nathan Adriaanse, said they had not received the case yet.

Mr Ntsondo disputed the pensioners’ claims that the park was untidy or that there were plans to develop it.

“In reality, empty bottles and litter left behind are really kept to a minimum and we have received numerous compliments on the neatness of the facility.

“There are no plans for development of the facility and regular repair and maintenance work is carried out.”