Fauna house a threat to residents

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This picture was taken from the outside [from the front] of the abandoned house in Fauna. Here it is evident the property is unkept and that garage doors have been removed. One can also see that the markings on the wall indicate that the wiring was ripped out. PHOTO: Gypseenia Lion

With crime constantly on the rise in Bloemfontein, an abandoned house in Fauna has sparked safety concerns among the residents in the neighbourhood. The house has been abandoned for almost seven years and has become a shelter and pass-through point for the homeless.

David Mckay. PHOTO: Supplied

According to ward councillor David McKay, for as long as he can remember, the house has been standing empty, and right now all that is left of it is the walls and the roof.

He alleges that the doors, safety gates, garage doors, electrical wiring, plumbing pipes, copper wiring and pipes, cupboards, and even all the baths and basins were stolen from the house. “It is just a shell that’s standing there. Vagrants and vandals broke into the house from the back and they stripped the place. At some point, they were living in the ceiling. We got the police to remove them because of house break-ins in Fauna. I have contacted the owner of the house multiple times to inform him about the condition of the house and now I can no longer get a hold of him,” said McKay.

He added the owner did mention to him that there were some issues with selling the house. According to him, the municipality, unfortunately, cannot go into the house as it is still private property. There is, however, a municipal law that could allow the municipality to claim back the house and sell it at auction.

This law is based on the upkeep of the house [includes safety and health issues], rates and taxes, how long the property has been left vacant and the illegal occupancy by people other than the owners.

“I have contacted various departments and no feedback has been given on the matter. We have received multiple complaints from neighbours about the house as it is a safety concern. All we can do is send the police to raid and search the place,” explained McKay.

Ruan van Wyk. PHOTO: Supplied

The chairman of Fauna Neighbourhood Watch, Ruan van Wyk, is part of the CSI security group that patrols in the south of the city. He told Bloemfontein Courant he has had multiple calls from neighbours on both sides about the random people that go in and out of the house.

“The house is currently being used as a pass-through for people who come from the Ferreira Road and want to enter Fauna. This poses a huge threat to the people in the neighbourhood. There have been many times when I have responded to a call and suspects ran through that house and across the railway tracks before I even arrive. By the time I do, I literally see them run over the tracks,” he said.

He added that he has also tried to contact the owners of the house multiple times to alert them about the danger the house poses to the neighbourhood and he also cannot get a hold of them anymore.

This picture was taken from the back of the house. This wall was broken and is allegedly being used to access the house and the neighbourhood from the Ferreira Road. PHOTO: Justine Fortuin

Bloemfontein Courant managed to get a hold of one of the owners of the house. According to her, they are busy planning to renovate the house at the end of October, but she claims that they have been waiting for the plans to be approved by the municipality.

When asked if she is aware of the extent of the damage to the property, she said she was not and added that they will have to give their urgent attention to the house.

An enquiry has been sent to the Mangaung Metro Municipality but no response was received at the time of going to press.

 

 

 

Justine Fortuin
justine@mahareng.co.za