Light at the end of the tunnel

Volunteers sprucing up the Blikkiesdorp community vegetable garden.

A problem Goodwood property that has blighted neighbours’ lives for four years faces demolition.

When residents demanded answers about 103 Nelson Street, during a Ward 26 meeting at Goodwood civic centre on Thursday May 11, Sub-council 4 chairman Chris Jordaan, told them “the plan is to demolish it” (“Nelson Street ‘problem’ persists,” Northern News, April 5).

Mr Jordaan said City officials would meet today, Wednesday May 17, to discuss problem buildings including Nelson Street.

Those living next to the Nelson Street property said they felt unsafe in their homes because it drew unsavoury characters. The stench of burnt plastic hung over the property, people smoked dagga there and cooked food in the yard, they said.

“We need to know what it going on with this property,” said Goodwood Ratepayers’ Association chairman Brian Lawson. He said the problem had dragged on for four years.

Ward councillor Franchesca Walker said she had found 10 “vagrants” on the property when she had inspected it.

The house had survived two fires and could not be rebuilt. “It must be demolished,” she said.

The City of Cape Town declared 103 Nelson Street a problem building in June last year.

Ms Walker said the City was charging the owners penalties.

On the City’s valuation roll, the owner is listed as Integral Effectance Corporation. The number listed for the company is no longer in service. Last year, Northern News spoke to Christopher Cole, the husband of the CC’s registered owner Jill Cole. At the time he said two security guards were posted at the house to keep an eye on it. Earlier this week Northern News called another number in Protea Valley, listed for the Coles, but it went unanswered.

“What they’re leaving behind is not fair for Goodwood. Change needs to happen,” Ms Walker said.

Residents wanted to know exactly when the matter would be finalised. Both Mr Jordaan and Ms Walker said more time was needed to deal with the issue.

Meanwhile the City said the problem-building case of 5 Anderson Street, Goodwood, had been closed because of compliance by the owner.

“No complaints regarding noise or anti-social behaviour have been received regarding this property and the account is not in arrears,” said Siyabulela Mamkeli, mayoral committee member for area central.

An elderly resident who spoke to Northern News on condition of anonymity, said there were squatters, including young children, living in the house, which has no electricity or running water.

At one point, there had been 26 adults and eight children living in the dilapidated house, which had burnt about three years ago. There had been noise and scenes of drunkenness at the house before the fire, she said.

The resident described the problems at the house, including prostitution and drug use, in a letter to mayor Patricia de Lille in November last year.

Last year, a woman was raped and a man murdered at the property (“Two in court for rape and murder,” Northern News, June 1, 2016).The house was vacant at the time, and the City had stopped unauthorised building work there.

Mr Mamkeli said building plans had been submitted subsequently and approved. The City said building had progressed to first-storey level and then ceased some time ago.

“It is therefore not true that all the work on the property is unauthorised, although the condition on site is not desirable at all,” said Mr Mamkeli.

He said the City would serve a notice on the owner to restart construction on site “and also to secure access to the property from the street in an attempt to improve the situation”.

Goodwood SAPS spokesman Captain Waynne Theunis said the suspects caught in connection with the rape and murder case were still in custody and due to appear in court today, Wednesday May 17.

“The house and people living there are not a criminal problem. We urge the neighbours to call the police with any complaints,” he said.