Neighbours fume over rats and squalor at City house

10 Spencer Street belongs to the City of Cape Town and is being used as a rubbish dump by the vagrants

An abandoned Goodwood house, owned by the City, has become a blight on the community, say neighbours.

The property, 10 Spencer Street, is attracting vagrants, illegal dumping and vermin, says Juliana Verkuil, who lives next door.

“The vagrants use the yard of that house as a toilet; they dump their rubbish there. I’m sure they do drugs there as well. It’s an eyesore, it smells and it just looks terrible,” said Mrs Verkuil.

The Northern News found faeces among the rubbish in the backyard.

Ms Verkuil said she had seen rats as big as her chihuahuas in the nearby streets. “It won’t be long before they try to get into our homes. The vagrants get drunk here, and fight and make so much noise. That place is no good at all.”

Danie Lourens, who lives further down the road, is worried about the vagrants living on the pavement opposite the abandoned house.

“You can’t walk to the shops, there are vagrants camping there, their rubbish is all over. The pavement is damaged, it’s just not safe to walk here,” he said.

“We as residents can’t do anything to evict them but we have informed the councillor.”

Juliana Verkuil in front of the abandoned house with a file of complaints.

Ms Verkuil has a thick file of emailed complaints and pictures that she has sent to high-ranking officials for the past four years. She said she had met with mayor Dan Plato, ward councillor Cecile Janse van Rensburg and safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith.

Mr Smith told the Northern News that the City’s Problem Building Unit (PBU) had cleaned the property in February and again on April 9 and 10. He sent pictures which he said showed the property after it had been cleaned.

“The PBU has also arranged for baiting of the rats by Environmental Health to be done again. This was previously done in February this year,” he said.

There is a stench of urine and faeces in the backyard.

Ms Janse van Rensburg said: “The property is in the process of being transferred to the City’s property management department to ensure the best outcome for the City as well as the public. In the meantime, the City will ensure that the residents in the immediate vicinity as well as the community in general are not prejudiced.

“I agree that the current state of the property is unacceptable. The City acknowledges the valid complaints and concerns of the residents in the immediate surrounds of the premises. Interventions to date have clearly not served the interest of our residents… the transfer of the premises to the property management department will rectify this regrettable situation.”

The entrance to the yard of 10 Spencer is littered with filth.