No care for cops’ flats

Parkhof flats in Kenilworth.

A state-owned block of flats housing police officers in Kenilworth is falling into ruin owing to a lack of maintenance, say residents.

The seven-storey Parkhof Flats in Grant Street is owned by the national Department of Public Works and houses police staff and their families.

But neighbours say the building has been poorly maintained in recent years making it an unsafe blight on the neighbourhood.

Paul Louw, a Grant Street resident and member of the Kenilworth Village Civic Association (KVCA) points to several problems at the block.

The front gate doesn’t close because its motor is broken.

Manholes around the building are missing their covers. Several windows are broken. Missing roof tiles are visible from the street. Gutters are missing.

Plumbing problems have caused water to pool and stagnate near the complex and they are attracting mosquitoes.

The area around the communal bins is cluttered with junk, including discarded pieces of wood and plastic.

He said some neighbours had tried unsuccessfully to talk to the block’s residents about the problems.

Children under 5 played unsupervised in the road because the block’s gate didn’t close, Mr Louw said. The children had told him they couldn’t play on the lawn around the complex because satellite dishes were balanced precariously on makeshift sticks there.

“There needs to be a formal housing committee to oversee the running of Parkhof and also to control unacceptable behaviour by tenants. This is necessary not only for the greater neighbourhood but also for the peaceful living of other tenants in the building,” he said.

The conditions at Parkhof were highlighted by the Tatler in 2017 (“Lawless Living,” Southern Suburbs Tatler, December 7, 2017.)

Another Grant Street resident, Fazeelah Ibrahim, shares the KVCA’s concerns.

“Kids are left alone for the entire officers’ shift. They have no guidance, so the strongest kid at any given time leads the pack,” she said.

She said the building was a mess and the noise levels were terrible.

The Tatler approached two women at the building for comment, but they declined and referred us to the Claremont station commander, Colonel Maree Louw, who confirmed the station was responsible for the day-to-day maintenance and cleaning of the building.

“There is only one groundsman, who is also responsible for the cleanliness of the station. He is also not young anymore and will retire soon,” she said.

Colonel Louw acknowledged the building needed serious attention, but “there is not much that we can do”.

Residents could file criminal charges against any residents of the block who threatened them, she said.

Ward councillor Sharon Cottle said her office had received many complaints about the Parkhof flats.

Mayco member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg said the City replaced stolen or missing manhole covers when they were reported. The public can call 0860 103 089 or 0800 65 64 63 to report missing covers.

Public Works spokesman Thami Mchunu said there were no plans to upgrade Parkhof.

“The department has also not received any logged calls from the police for any outstanding day to day maintenance at the property,” he said.

Repairs costing less than R100 000 came out of the police’s day-to-day maintenance budget, whereas the department was responsible for more costly repairs, he said.