From the news desk

CPF bemoans problem building

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Concerns are being raised among residents in Maitland and Salt River after a decomposing buried woman was discovered in a nearby abandoned building. The discovery was made on the 2nd August in Voortrekker Road, Maitland. The discovery is as an indicator to residents that derelict buildings are becoming hotspots for crime.
Residents are concerned that abandoned buildings in the area will continuously be used as a place where criminals do their unlawful deeds without having attention drawn to them.
“It is an easy hiding place for any criminal, if you are walking past you do not think to look around and see what’s going on around you. It is also an easy attack point,” says Justin Kumlehn of Maitland Community Police Forum (CPF).
“It is also a hotspot for burning copper, dumping and taking apart appliances. Sleeping is a big problem in these buildings; the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has gotten over 30 buildings in the Maitland area alone and there is over a 100 people that sleep between the buildings.”
There are various crimes that take place in the derelict infrastructure that is difficult to pinpoint a specific one just for those buildings.
Kumlehn also states that the concerns have been addressed to the ward councillor in the area and that there are residents that have taken on the plight themselves.
Kumlehn added that there have been other steps taken to help ease the matter.
“Just the Friday that past, Maitland SAPS in conjunction with neighbourhood watches went around to all the derelict buildings in the area and loaded all the people that were sleeping in the buildings for profiling. During that process of profiling, 2 or 3 people were discovered to have outstanding warrants that then lead to their arrests,” says Kumlehn.
He goes on to say that there has been positive feedback after months of meetings to do something about the buildings.
“One of the buildings behind Koeberg Primary School got the go ahead to be demolished. It is a small start even though there is a huge amount still to be seen to.”
In July, the City of Cape Town’s Problem Building Unit has spent just shy of R158 000 in the last year to secure, clean and erect problem building sign boards at 42 properties across the city.
In addition, the City is charging 45 property owners a monthly Problem Building Tariff, amounting to just over R400 000 a month which will be recovered by instituting debt collection proceedings in terms of the City’s Credit Control and Debt Collection By-law of 2006.
The Unit is currently investigating nearly 2 400 cases, the majority of which are residential properties. Some of the biggest challenges include being unable to track down the owners of properties and deceased estates without an executor or where the owner did not leave a will. VOC

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