Lawless living

The block of flats in Kenilworth which residents in the area have been complaining about.

A police barracks in Kenilworth has raised the ire of neighbours who say the disorderly conduct of the resident men and women in blue and their children has them seeing red.

In 2010, the Cape Argus reported that the City of Cape Town had threatened to close the state-owned Parkhof flats under its Problem-Building By-law because the building was neglected.

But the seven-storey block subsequently underwent a multi-million rand renovation, and Greta Engelbrecht, who lives nearby, said the neighbourhood had hoped that would bring better management of the block, but, instead, things had only gotten worse.

“It is sad to report that nothing has changed at all at Parkhof. It has, in actual fact, become even worse with time. I was told that things would change because a high-ranking officer was going to move into the building and would ‘sort it out’. This has clearly not happened.

“We have had instances of drunk teenagers falling around on the pavement on Friday nights, young children walking down the street cursing and, when politely asked to keep it down, respond with aggression.

“There is constant screaming and misbehaviour, illegal, inconsiderate parking of vehicles speeding of police and private vehicles, loud music being played by residents through portable speakers or sound systems in vehicles, children throwing unearthed paving stones from the inside of the ‘caretaker’s room’,” said Ms Engelbrecht.

The building’s gutters had fallen down and palm trees had been pulled out and set alight by children on the premises.
Windows were also broken as well as the electric gate at the entrance, said Ms Engelbrecht.

“This building made our area into a nightmare area. Neighbours are battling to sell their properties because of Parkhof – and they are only selling to get away from this building.

“My son is unable to study at university because of protests and he finds it almost impossible to study at home due to the noise once the kids are home from school,” said Ms Engelbrecht.

Grant Street resident Paul Louw, who has been living in the area for 20 years, agreed with Ms Engelbrecht and said the block had been a problem for years.
“When I bought my Grant Street property, 20 years ago, Parkhof had beautiful gardens and manicured lawns. One of the residents, a ranking senior policeman, was the caretaker, and all the residents new the boundaries and limitations.
“Now, nobody is in control anymore, and neighbouring residents are too apprehensive to keep on complaining, some in fear of retribution and others for being politically correct.The first problem appears to be a total lack of responsibility by any of the residents. Every other residential block in the area has a body corporate and a code of conduct. This does not seem to apply to Parkhof,” said Mr Louw.
Ward 58 councillor Sharon Cottle said she had fielded several complaints about the block, but the City was only responsible for managing the outside of the building, which is owned by the national Department of Public Works.
She said Claremont police station had sent letters to the tenants last year threatening them with eviction if they ignored conditions in their leases.
The Tatler has a copy of one of those letters .It says: “It has come to the attention of this office that children are being allowed to play unsupervised in the parking area of the above mentioned premises. Pavers are being unearthed and thrown against the fence.
“The children scream and shout at the top of their voices, thereby disturbing residents of surrounding buildings. A major concern is that very young children are being spotted going to the local shop accompanied by others who are not much older,”
Ms Cottle has urged residents to log noise and disturbance complaints with City law enforcement as soon as they arise.
The Tatler has tried for two weeks to get Public Works to answer questions, but the department had still not done so by the time this edition went to print. The Western Cape police also did not respond to questions.