No end to ‘problem’ in street

Residents living near a derelict Goodwood house that is home to rowdy squatters claim it’s a health hazard and a den for drug use and prostitution.

A source who refused to be named, as she fears reprisals, said she was “fed up and petrified” with the property’s illegal occupants (“Squatters out in Anderson Street,” Northern News, May 31, 2017).

“I have been having problems with the different inhabitants of the house for the last eight years. Over the years, the activity, at the house has dramatically worsened. I now find rats and mice on my property due to the rubbish that surrounds the house.

“They need to send a health inspector out here to assess the situation. I also found a black snake on the mat in front of my door and a long screwdriver in my garden.

“I also can’t sleep at night as the squatters continually slam the aluminium gate in the wee hours of the morning. They also throw their empty beer bottles over into my property,” she said.

She is worried the house is causing her property value to drop. “People are scared to rent or buy property in the vicinity of the house,” she said.

She claimed the squatters had tried to steal water from her taps, and many in the neighbourhood suspected they were behind a spike in burglaries in the area.

“I think this property should be bulldozed. I am not getting any younger and having to deal with this issue is affecting my health. I have many slips of paper and emails where I have tried to contact people like the ward councillor to help me but it has all been in vain,” she said.

When the Northern News visited the property a fortnight ago, it was in a dire condition, with rubbish bags lining the entrance, their contents spilling into the street.

The resident said the house had been a problem as long as she had been living in the area.

“Several years ago, the house burnt down and it was condemned by the fire chief. A woman was also found raped and murdered at the property,” she said.

Goodwood police confirmed the murder and rape of a woman they describe as a stroller.

Ward 27 councillor Cecile Janse van Rensburg said residents should report “suspect activities” to the police.

She said 5 Anderson Street was on a list of problematic buildings but it had since had a change in ownership.

“The premises is not a declared problem building but if complaints are directed at the City these will be investigated by the relevant departments such as health, fire safety and building control. The owner will be engaged in order to ensure compliance with all relevant regulations and by-laws.”

The property has had several owners over the years. The current one is Fuad Carlie. He said he had tried several times to get the squatters out.

“They just keep on coming back. They jump over the wall to gain entry to the property and they broke the lock and chain I placed on the gate to secure the property,” he said.

Mr Carlie said he understood his neighbours’ frustrations.

“What can I do? I can’t wave a magic wand and make them go away. I do plan on putting up boards warning those that squat that they will be prosecuted if they illegally enter the property. I also considered, putting up barbed wire to keep them out,” he said.

Mr Carlie said he wanted to rebuild the property as soon as possible, but he was reluctant to give details on those plans.

“Our building plans have been approved and it’s just a matter of time before we start building,” he said.

He said he had bought the property last year and he could believe what residents were saying about the squatters.

“I was at the property two weeks ago, and I saw a woman and her boyfriend coming out. I told them that I don’t want them at the property, and that is when I noticed that the lock on the aluminum gate was broken,” he said.

Asked about the rubbish, Mr Carlie said he would not be cleaning the property as he wanted to make it as “inconvenient” for the squatters as possible. “I also want to enlist the help of ADT Security in the future to conduct regular patrols in the street,” he said.

Goodwood police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Hennie Rademeyer said he knew about the “problem building” and police would patrol the area daily.

“We are, however, not aware of any prostitution or drug peddling at the property,” he said.