Pensioner pleads for abandoned building to be demolished

This municipal building has become a problem for residents of Khayelitsha.

An abandoned, crumbling building in Luvuyo Drive, Khayelitsha, has become a nightmare for the pensioner who lives next door to it.

Ndileka Mbatyothi, 61, said the building has contributed to an increase in crime in the area and that it has become a haven for drug users.

For 20 years, she said, the building has been abandoned and has suggested that the City of Cape Town demolish it or hand it over to someone who can make use of it.

“It has never operated and now it has become a melting pot of crime. Apparently this was a creche but again we heard it was a youth centre. But it has never operated that is why it should be demolished as soon as possible,” she said.

“It gives me sleepless nights. When these boys play here, balls come to my yard. When they do not get their balls, they throw stones and break my windows. This is tiring,” she told Vukani.

Mama Mbatyothi has sleepless nights with the criminals using the building next to her house as a hideout.

She also claimed that women and girls who pass by, are targeted by criminals who use the building as a hideout.

Over the years the pensioner has had her fence pulled down, window panes broken and stones thrown at her home . She said “I have been to the police, the local committee and the councillor but nothing has happened. I am really tired of fighting. I am a pensioner but I have to spend money on fences and window panes and other ways to be secured. Like any person I want to live in peace and enjoy my time,” she said.

When Vukani visited the eyesore at 30 Luvuyo Street last Saturday we found empty bottles and cigarettes butts inside the building and debris strewn around the property. The house has been defaced with spray paint and on the property was a man helping himself to scrap materials.

In the yard there are small poles and the writing on the walls says the field is Camp Nou, the home of Spanish soccer giants, FC Barcelona.

Ms Mbatyothi said when there are games, she cannot rest because they come to her yard to retrieve their soccer balls – and if they’re unable to do so, they pelt her windows with stones.

Even high walls and security fence does not help Ndileka Mbatyothi feel safe in her home which is next door to the abandoned building.

“Big guys play here. There are older people who call themselves coaches. I am not sure if they cannot see the wrong they are doing. I have upped my fence but that does not work. I must endure the pain of seeing young people hurling insults at me and my kids. I must act as if there is nothing wrong when they insult my kids. Somebody needs to come to my rescue here. The City must come in,” she said.

After visiting the old lady, Vukani tried to find the local committee but wasn’t able to.

When we contacted the City of Cape Town, spokesman Luthando Tyhalibongo confirmed that the building was owned by the City and that their records show it had previously been used as a youth centre. Mr Tyhalibongo said the City was investigating possible options regarding the future of this site, including demolishing the building.

Wayne Dyason, spokesperson for City Law Enforcement said the Problem Building Unit had received the complaint and would investigate “once the area has been declared safe by the South African Police Service.”

One man’s problem is another man’s gain. When Vukani visited the property, this man was collecting scrap.