With the school holidays in full swing, recreational parks all over Cape Town are accommodating the huge number of school children taking a break from their academic year.
However, on the corner of Searle Street and Keizergracht Road in Zonnebloem is a recreational park with a rundown ablution block, causing concern for many parents.
The unused, vandalised ablution block has become an attraction for the homeless, alleged drug users and other suspicious characters.
Athina Jacobs from District Six has a six-year-old daughter attending the neighbouring school and who regularly plays in the park with her friends.
On Wednesday June 22 she was left in shock when she collected her daughter from the park.
“There were two men sitting in front of this messy building, one cleaning dagga and the other preparing a pipe, with the glass of the bottle that he just broke, scattered all over the floor.
“These guys were planning to smoke a pipe right there, in full view of the children, the public and the large volumes of traffic. No shame,” Ms Jacobs said.
She nervously walked into the park, took her daughter by the hand, along with her two friends, and on leaving, spotted another group of “shady guys” entering the park to join the other two men.
“I asked the children if there are always people there and they said yes.
“She could even tell me they smoke dagga there. I was in shock because my child is exposed to this and here I am thinking she is safe, playing with other children in the park,” she added.
“In all honesty, our children aren’t safe anywhere anymore, that is what this world has come to.”
Another angry father from Zonnebloem, Derrick Demas, added to Ms Jacobs’ sentiments, saying the ablution block had become “a home for the homeless”.
Mr Demas said he passed on his concerns to the City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement authority, when he reported a scuffle between two homeless men last month. “They had been drinking together and all of a sudden, there were bricks flying around and they were chasing each other, clearly a drunk fight that went wrong. They had all their belongings, mattresses, clothing, blankets and other items with them,” he said.
When asked if they were sleeping inside the ablution block, he said: “I am not sure, but that is something for the City of Cape Town to deal with, not us. It doesn’t really matter if people are sleeping in it or not – just look at it, it’s an eyesore.”
After sending the City of Cape Town a list of questions regarding this matter, the City could only confirm that the matter would be investigated by its officials.
Belinda Walker, Mayco member for community services and special projects, said they were taking the concerns raised “very seriously” and planned to address the situation as quickly as possible.
“The City’s sport, recreation and amenities department is investigating further. A response will be provided as soon as a full investigation is complete,” Ms Walker said.
* To report vandalism, residents should contact the City’s Call Centre on 0860 103 089.