The City of Cape Town have issued a notice of compliance to the owner of a derelict warehouse in the Kensington / Facreton area, following complaints from residents that the building was being occupied by over 100 immigrants. The occupants of the building were allegedly bussed into the area on the 4th August via four trucks.
Kenfac residents were outraged to learn that the building in question had been converted to 20 apartments, despite the owner not receiving prior approval from the City to begin any such construction. They subsequently held a meeting last week to address the issue. They also sent a letter to City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille, as well as the areas ward councilor, Lisa McBride, calling for an immediate evacuation to the building.
Responding to the residents’ concerns, Mayoral committee member for energy, environmental & spatial planning, Dr Johannes Van De Merwe, said that councilor McBride had undertaken a site inspection on the 26th August, whilst also attending various public meetings held by the residents.
He said the City continued to maintain an open line of communication with the residents on the issue.
“Residents have been in constant contact with the City officials to update them on the developments of the case at hand,” he noted.
Addressing the findings of the inspection, Van de Merwe said they had determined the building to be “unbefitting of usage” and have ordered all further construction to be halted.
“The findings are that the City has not received planning applications for this property. Therefore notices were served on the owner to obtain written approval for the constructions done, and to seize all building work immediately, as this was non-compliant,” he said.
Given that the building had now been openly condemned by the City, he said it was highly unlikely that any plans submitted by the owner would be approved.
Residents have also expressed frustration at the manner in which their complaints were addressed by the Metro Police, as well as the South African Police Services (SAPS). However, Van de Merwe sought to absolve the Metro Police of any blame, by insisting the first responsible unit in this situation should have been SAPS.
The owner of the property will now have 60 days to comply with the city council’s demands, as per the notice of compliance. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)