False Bay People’s Post

19 January 2016  NICOLE MCCAIN

A group of Muizenberg residents has banded together to fight a problem building in Clevedon Road.

The house was vacated by the tenant before Christmas and vandals moved in shortly after. A resident alerted the local neighbourhood watch, the Muizenberg Community Safety Initiative (MCSI), to concerns neighbours had about the property.

The manager of the Muizenberg Improvement District (MID) was consulted and alerted the police, while the MID director responsible for bad buildings contacted the City’s problem building unit. MID public safety patrollers started to conduct regular stops at the property to monitor activity, says MCSI chairperson Trevor Snyders.

On 4 January a neighbour saw the front door broken down and men ransacking the house, loading baths, light fittings, gutters and furniture into trolleys and vehicles.

 By this time the property reeked of urine and broken alcohol bottles were spread across the property, he says. It has taken years of concerted effort by the MID and the community to rid Muizenberg of tenant overcrowding, drug dealing and crime caused by absentee landlords, says Snyders.
21 Clevedon

Muizenberg residents intervened to secure this building in Clevedon Road, which was vandalised after the tenant moved out before Christmas. PHOTO: Digby Young

Now this situation posed an immediate and serious threat to the security of all residents in the vicinity. The MCSI was not going to stand idly by and let it happen.

A community meeting was called, a plan of action agreed and working together via the MCSI WhatsApp group, members sprang into action to halt the destruction.

Ward councillor Dave D’Alton undertook to liaise with the City’s health inspector and relevant City departments. The attorney of the property owner was tracked down. The attorney authorised the police to legally remove the trespassers.He said, however, it would be difficult to find a contractor to secure the property over the Christmas period,” Snyders explains.

Undeterred, MCSI members used their own money to buy materials. Volunteers spent an afternoon securing the building. The driveway access was welded shut, the entire frontage topped with razor wire and a webcam mounted to monitor the property.

An increase in crime is motivating residents to join the MCSI and take back their community by actively patrolling and alerting each other to security risks, Snyders believes.

Sadly, the property has already been gutted, but the combined action has prevented criminals from occupying the building and doing further damage and has provided security to those living around the property.”

Community engagement like this is vital in tackling problem buildings, says MID director for public safety Hugo Coetzee. The MID estimated that at least a third of Muizenberg property owners are absentee landlords.

It’s crucial to have community involvement. A few years ago, if a neighbour’s gate was open, most people would have ignored it. Now neighbours will alert each other to things like that.”

Visit the Muizenberg Community Safety Initiative at www.mcsi.org.za or email chair@msci.org.za


Important information about Bad Buildings

Bad Buildings are an ongoing area of focus for the Muizenberg Improvement District (MID).  The MID reports concerns highlighted by the community and identified by MID to the City’s Problem Building Unit.

In 2010  the City of Cape Town became the first metropolitan council in the country to introduce a Problem Building By-law. It’s inception makes it possible for the City to act against errant property owners who refuse to comply with the law and it gives teeth to the work of MID in tackling problem buildings and tenant overcrowding.

The following are the definitions of a problem building in the Problem Buildings By-Law of 2010.

  1. 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
  2. It is derelict in appearance, overcrowded or is showing signs of becoming unhealthy, unsanitary, unsightly or objectionable, and/or
  3. It is the subject of written complaints in respect of criminal activities, including drug dealings and prostitution, and/or
  4. It is illegally occupied, and/or
  5. Refuse or objectionable material is dumped, stored or deposited, with the exception of licensed waste disposal facilities, and/or
  6. It is partially completed or structurally unsound and is a threat or danger to the safety of the general public.

If any building in the MID area appears to fit any of these criteria or causes you concern for any reason, please contact the MID office manager@mid.org.za or liaise directly with the relevant officials of the City of Cape Town listed below.

Health Department

Muzzamiel Gamieldien

Overcrowding, unsanitary, illegal storage


Building Inspector

Quentin Carelse

unlawful occupation, derelict and vandalised buildings


Problem Buildings Unit

Wayne Aldridge