The Muizenberg Improvement District (MID) in partnership with the Muizenberg Community Safety Initiative (MCSI) will take action following a stream of complaints from community members about the unlawful activity and vandalism taking place at the burnt down building at 32 Hansen Rd.
When the building burnt down last year, a bed-ridden resident inside the house tragically lost her life in the fire. Now community members are reporting that vandals are steadily stripping the property of fittings and piping and that there is prostitution activity taking place in full view of residents at neighbouring properties. The community is justifiably concerned that the property will soon be unlawfully occupied and become a haven for illegal activity which will endanger everyone living close by.
Derelict Buildings pose a security and health risk for all residents in our community and exacerbate unlawful activity. Presently there are very few bad buildings in the MID area of Muizenberg. We would like to keep it this way.
The MID, working in collaboration with concerned property owners and community members, does not hesitate to bring bad buildings to the attention of the City’s Problem Buildings Unit and actively helps them to track down absentee landlords. We do this because our mandate is to maintain a healthy environment and public safety which in turn improve quality of living for each one who has invested in this beautiful village and is helping to transform it.
The MID has zero tolerance for property owners who refuse to comply with the Problem Building By-law.
The Problem Building By-Law of 2010 makes provisions for offenders to be fined up to R300 000 or imprisoned for 3 years or both. They are also liable for the costs of rehabilitating their property. In some cases a building is not derelict but it may pose a fire risk due to lack of maintenance and here the MID also intervenes.
The following are the definitions of a problem building in terms of the Problem Buildings By-Law of 2010.
- It appears to have been abandoned by the owner, with or without the consequence that rates or other service charges are not being paid, and/or
- It is derelict in appearance, overcrowded or is showing signs of becoming unhealthy, unsanitary, unsightly or objectionable, and/or
- It is the subject of written complaints in respect of criminal activities, including drug dealings and prostitution, and/or
- It is illegally occupied, and/or
- Refuse or objectionable material is dumped, stored or deposited, with the exception of licensed waste disposal facilities, and/or
- It is partially completed or structurally unsound and is a threat or danger to the safety of the general public.
The community has made repeated requests for the 32 Hansen Rd property to be secured against unlawful occupants but to no avail. Now the MID has identified the owner and will be working with the City’s Problem Building Unit for investigation and action. SEE UPDATE TO THIS STORY BELOW
Earlier this year there was a similar case where the MID and the MCSI took action to safeguard the community from a vandalised, unlawfully occupied house – see http://www.mid.org.za/news/locals-act-to-save-property/
If you are concerned about a bad building near you, please put your complaint in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can ensure action is taken. If you want to be proactive in your community please sign up as a member of the MCSI – email Trevor Snyders, email@example.com or visit their Facebook page
Issued by Lesley Schroeder, Stakeholder Engagement Director, MID
UPDATE to this story Tues 2 February 2016
The MID thanks the owner of 32 Hansen Road for responding to our letter and her commitment to securing the property. We are now engaging positively with the owner and from her feedback, it appears that trying to action renovations to a property classified as a heritage building is not a simple process. Please watch our News Section for further updates on heritage buildings. We hope to soon provide and tips and guidelines on how to navigate the process of rebuilding or renovating them.