‘I told you so,’ says irked business owner after collapse

A portion of the canopy and one column on the sidewalk collapsed.

A Salt River shop owner, who has been complaining about a nearby derelict building for years, is fuming after part of its crumbling portico collapsed.

Anton Noortman says it’s the latest in a string of incidents that have him fearing for his business.

He said the Albert Road building had stood vacant for years despite his many complaints about it to the City and the man he says owns it, Leon Slinger.

Mr Noortman blames homeless people living in the
derelict building for the two burglaries and a fire his shop has suffered.

“The building and associated problems have affected my business. People are scared to walk pass the building – so it affects my sales for the day,” he said.

Frank Muggleston, Mr Slinger’s attorney, said part of the portico roof and a column on the pavement had collapsed at about 10.30pm on Saturday June 23, after steel props were stolen.

“The collapse was therefore caused by vandalism,” he said.

Mr Muggleston, said the Dalezbro Trust, and not Mr Slinger, was the registered owner of the building, although Mr Slinger was a trustee.

Mr Muggleston denied the building had been condemned, but City spokesman Luthando Tyhalibongo said it was listed as a problem building.

“This has been listed as a problem building and due process is being followed,” said Mr Tyhalibonga.

Salt River resident Ishmail Valley said he had complained about the building many times. People would drink and drug there before it had been bricked up, he said.

“When we complained about the homeless people living here, officials would come and put them out, but two days later, they would be back.”

Mr Valley said he avoided walking under the portico’s roof and would often either walk in the street or on the other side of the road.

He said people had stolen the roof sheets.

“The area is not properly secured, and it poses a danger. Just look at what happened. What if someone had been walking under the roof when it collapsed?” he said.

Mr Muggleston said his client had not received any complaints directly from any resident, but had been made aware that complaints had been made to the City.

“These complaints relate to vagrants illegally climbing over the walls and gaining access to the building,” he said.

Mr Muggleston said the building was vacant when it was acquired by the present owner and was suitable only for demolition and redevelopment of the site but that had not happened yet due to the poor economic environment in that part of Salt River.

“Plans to demolish the building were previously submitted to the City but had not been approved.”

A new demolition application had been submitted before the vandalism, he said.

Mr Muggleston said his client wanted to demolish the building and clean and fence the site pending its development.