Collapsing wall a safety risk for pensioner

Anthea Kloppers at the collapsing wall outside their Beacon Valley home.

A Beacon Valley pensioner and her family have sleepless nights over the cracked and collapsing wall of their house caused by illegal sand mining on the outside of the house.

Cecilia Kloppers, 72, and her daughter Anthea Kloppers told the Plainsman on Friday October 27 that they have been trying to fix the wall of their Judo Street home for seven months and have also been communicating the issue to the City of Cape Town.

Lentegeur resident and social worker Daphne Jansen contacted the Plainsman to look into the family’s plight.

The Kloppers family said things came to a head in March – they didn’t know about the wall until a passer-by and neighbours told them that the wall was slowly sinking.

“Vagrants would dig sand from under the foundation of our house,” said Ms Kloppers.

“In May the wall started cracking inside both our rooms. I had to phone the insurance people. I had no knowledge of emails and asked my daughter to help. The insurance doesn’t cover the outside of our wall,” said Ms Kloppers.

Cecilia Kloppers, 72, inside her room with the cracked wall.

The wall on the outside is collapsing which is causing the inside of both bedroom walls to crack. They can feel a breeze coming through their walls as well as a smell. The weather does not help the situation either, Ms Kloppers said.

Her daughter said the quotation to fix the wall will cost them thousands, “which is money we do not have,” she said.

“My mother cannot sleep at night. There are four people in our home. She has several health issues at this stage in her life. Sometimes when they are shooting on the field behind our home, we have to move to the front room, as that is the safest space in our home from the gunshots. This is not okay,” she said.

They have tried to hold the wall together by cementing it to keep it up. They even throw rubble underneath it to hold the wall up, said her daughter.

“We contacted several offices to get the issue resolved. This is council property; they need to fix it. Because it’s their property, it feels like they’re doing nothing. We don’t have a boundary wall to protect the property yet,” said the pensioner.

Their property is externally insured by the City. However, their claim to the insurance company, was rejected as they do not cover this type of damage.

Ms Kloppers still has some options available as indicated by the insurance company, which include a three-step complaint system to have the decision reviewed and take legal action.

The City of Cape Town confirmed it’s a City-owned delayed transfer property in respect of which a deed of sale was concluded and transfer of ownership is pending. The purchasers are thus considered the property owners and are responsible for the upkeep of the property, the City said.

Solomon Philander, chairperson of Sub-council 12 and the councillor for Ward 116, which includes Beacon Valley, confirmed the complaint and said he had tried to help the Kloppers family get assistance from the relevant departments.

He said unfortunately there’s a process to follow and the damage to the property was done by community members making the pensioner and her family’s life uncomfortable.

“When I became aware of the complaint, I engaged the Recreation and Parks Department to assist, however, they were not in the position to assist. I then activated the insurance as the property is a delayed transfer property. The insurance (company) assessed the claim and it was rejected,” Mr Philander said.

Ms Kloppers said the transfer of their home ownership is pending since March 2019. So the property is currently still under the council’s ownership and has not been transferred to date, the daughter confirmed.

All the family are hoping for is help to fix their property before the wall collapses completely and for Ms Kloppers to have peace at night.