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Drug den to become law enforcement base

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One of Belhar’s most notorious drug dens will be converted into a multi-purpose deployment base for the City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement Department.

Contractors on Thursday demolished the “Little House on the Prairie”, a known problem property on the corner of the Stellenbosch Arterial and Robert Sobukwe Drive.

Mayor Patricia de Lille said the final product “will not only stand as a bastion of law and order, but will also bring service delivery closer to [the] communities.

“This is a truly significant milestone. The Little House on the Prairie has a history as one of the most problematic sites in the city, but we persevered and eventually wrestled the property from the hands of the occupants,” she said.

In November 2013, the occupants living in the council-owned Belhar property were evicted following a lengthy court battle which lasted more than a decade.

This was after the National Prosecuting Authority in 2006 informed the City that their rental unit was on their radar as they were investigating a gang leader linked to the property.

Illegal structures and extensions were discovered on the property. It was also found to be in contravention of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act and some structures and their occupants encroached onto the adjacent property owned by Airports Company of South Africa.

The illegal occupants were also implicated in “business and criminal activities”.

The tenant’s lease agreement was cancelled in 2007 and eviction proceedings were launched in November 2010.

However, some of the occupants took the matter to the Constitutional Court after the Western Cape High Court ruled in favour of the City.

The Constitutional Court dismissed the occupants’ application in September 2013 for leave to appeal the High Court decision.

The demolition cost the City just over R135 000.

Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security JP Smith said the City’s Safety and Security Directorate has secured funding totalling R12m for the feasibility study, planning and construction of the new facility, which will be completed by June 2017.

“I had my heart set on turning the property into a Law Enforcement base from the outset, not only to serve as a lasting reminder of how this particular story ended, but also because we don’t have a deployment base in this part of the city,” Smith said.

“I am very happy that we’re finally getting the wrecking ball moving and am excited about how this will improve our services. This deployment station will service all neighbouring areas including the informal settlement next to it.

“It will also allow for quicker response times to incidents as it is close to both Robert Sobukwe Drive and Stellenbosch Arterial.” News24

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