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A ‘plot’ of dread

What was once a popular, small shopping centre in Peerless Park East has now become a crime spot feared by local residents.

Situated on the corners of Visser and Durbanville streets, The Hub had stores like Shoprite Usave and Green Valley Superette, among others.

All those stores have since closed down, leaving the centre abandoned.

Over the years, the building has become dilapidated and the plot is overgrown with weeds and grass.

A concerned resident anonymously contacted TygerBurger to express concern about what is happening on the land.

“There seem to be people using drugs on the field, they cannot be seen because the grass is so high,” he explains.

The plot is situated close to the Kraaifontein train station. He says people walking to the station often take longer routes to avoid this area. “People fear walking past the field because they are not sure what might happen.”

He says he has heard screams coming from the field at night.

He also says skollies have stolen what was left of the steel structure. The resident says a few years ago, he went on holiday with his family and on their return, he found his house burgled.

“I do not know who did that, but I have suspicions that it was the people that hang around the field.”

He says police visibility in the area is almost non-existent.

“We hardly see police vehicles patrolling the area and people have lost faith in the police.”

Kraaifontein police spokesperson Capt Hein Hendricks says they are aware that the centre has been torn down and that the property is overgrown, but no crime has been reported.

“No crime has been reported at this address in the recent past, although we warn residents and the community to be vigilant and cautious when passing the area,” he says. Hendricks further says the police patrol Sector 3, which includes Peerless Park, on a 24-hour basis.

He encouraged people to report crime to the police. Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith says a case file was registered last month and an investigating officer is trying to get hold of the owner.

“However, there is only a post box address for the owner. A notice of intended inspection will be sent via registered mail if the owner cannot be tracked down,” he explains.

Asked whether the City is aware of the alleged criminal activities, Smith says the only complaint to the problem building unit was overgrown vegetation.

“The City is not aware of alleged criminal activities.”

In such a case where the owner of a privately owned building or plot cannot be found, Smith says the City’s problem building by-law allows the unit to repair, renovate, repaint, close, demolish and remove all refuse or secure any problem building.

“This would be done at the cost of the owner, should the owner fail to comply with instructions to do so themselves within a specific period.”

On Friday 14 February, the City’s environmental health practitioners conducted a site visit at the plot and a notice in terms of the environmental health bylaw to clear the property will be served on the owner.

“In the event of non-compliance within 21 days, the City will appoint a private contractor to clear the property on the owner’s expense,” Mayco member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien says.

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