R1.4m not enough to fix Scottsdene flats, say residents

Jaylin Cloete shows off the mould on her bedroom walls.

The City plans to spend R1.4 million on repairs and other work at two blocks of Scottsdene flats, but residents say it’s not enough to ease a groaning maintenance backlog.

Geneva Court and Gabriel Court, built in 2016 and home to almost 500 families, are part of the Scottsdene rental estate in Kraaifontein – a housing development by local, provincial and national government to create 2 200 housing opportunities, including fully subsidised homes, City rental stock, and affordable market rental units.

Geneva Court Community Forum chairman Norman Kroukamp said it was good to see work being done at the block but it should have happened before the heavy rains, which had caused further damage to top-floor flats in the past month.

“Many things need to be done here that we addressed in 2017,” he said, noting that most of the units were mouldy as there were no air vents, sewage spilled in the courtyards because of poorly installed pipes, and the fence around the flats was broken.

Lynn Pipers’s windows are broken, and she has boarded them up to keep out the wet and cold. “It is not only my windows, many people here are complaining,” she said.

She had the same problem last winter and complained at the Kraaifontein municipal office. A day later, she said, “council workers” had given her neighbour putty so residents could repair the windows themselves.

Nicolene Marengo has been without lights for two weeks, and only one wall plug works. She runs a lead from it to her two-plate stove in the kitchen.

Resident Willem de Wee, who was a sub-contractor for private developers Calgro Consortium M3, said R1.4 million would not cover the maintenance costs at Geneva Court and Gabriel Court. He was retrenched in 2018 but said his knowledge of “poor workmanship is being proven at the flats”.

He added: “People’s ceilings are caving in because of poor work being done here in 2016. More than 40 units have seen their ceilings breaking in the past four years.”

Gangs were using the broken fences at the flats to cross from one gang territory to another, he said.

Malusi Booi, the mayoral committee member for human settlements, said the fence had been repaired twice since 2016. He encouraged residents to open their windows or doors when they were at home to improve ventilation, which, he said, would help with the mould.

Fixing leaks in the roofs and the top of the parapet walls would cost R920 000 and the work should be done by the end of the month, he said. Thereafter, R520 000 would be spent on upgrading the courtyard and central spaces including paving, and putting in kerbs and gutters to deal with stormwater run-off. Gutter down pipes would be replaced by the end of June.

He blamed the community for vandalising a room City officials used to run meetings about tenancy matters.

“It’s unfortunate that vandalism occurs here regularly,” he said. “The City is assessing the damage and will carry out repairs as soon as possible. Tenants should notify us if they know who has vandalised this space so that the City can investigate.”

 Residents can contact the City’s call centre or WhatsApp 063 299 9927.