Old Pinelands building a ‘problem’

The abandoned building in Pinelands.

An abandoned state-owned building in Pinelands is home to squatters and a haven for crime and grime.

The Department of Public Works owns the building near Sunrise Circle, off Jan Smuts Drive, and opposite the Pinelands police station.

Pinelands resident Veronica Kasker said the derelict building was a blight on the neighbourhood and rubbish was piling up inside.

Jacqueline Ford, an Old Mutual employee, said she did not feel safe driving past that area.

“I have noticed that the squatters living there are constantly making fires, and last Friday, when I drove past there, I smelt burning plastic.”

The building has no windows, there is no ceiling, the bricks are crumbling and there is rubble and garbage in every room.

There were no squatters there when the Tatler visited apart from a media-shy man picking through rubbish for recycling. There were, however, signs of habitation: blankets hung up to dry; shoes and clothing lying near a wall

The City of Cape Town said they could do nothing to clean up the property because it belonged to Public Works.

The Tatler tried for two weeks to get comment from Ward 53 councillor Brian Watkyns, but we were unable to do so by the time this edition went to print.

Pinelands police acting station commander Captain Anton van der Berg said they had made drug-related arrests at the building.

“Complaints of assault were also reported, furthermore, we had to respond to incidents of fire, where the building and field caught alight as a result of the occupants making fire,” he said.

The Tatler sent questions to Public Works a week ago but the department did not respond by time of going to print.