Tafelsig house a concern for community

Pictured are chairperson of the Thusanang Community Development NPO, Beatrice Leng and Jocelyn Hendricks, 64, in the kitchen which shows signs of burn damage.

A rundown house in Tafelsig has become a cause of concern in the community as crime allegedly brews from it and it poses a health risk for the family living there.

The family, consisting of a mother and daughter, who reportedly struggle with their mental health and wellness, are not able to fix the house, said Beatrice Leng, chairperson of Thusanang Community Development NPO.

Charmaine Adams, chairperson of the Mitchell’s Plain Community Police Forum’s Tafelsig sub-forum, said the house has become a den for crime, drug abusers and gangsters. They have been in communication with SAPS to assist with this house.

“We’ve been trying to assist with this house. Any neighbour or community member is prepared to help. We have been speaking about this at our meetings,” she said.

“It’s not safe to live in the house,” said Ms Leng. “Anything can happen to them at night. It was raining so much the other day, it is not good for their health. There is also no electricity in the house.”

Ms Leng called SAPS, the provincial Department of Social Development, the health inspector and the local councillor to get advice on how to assist the family in a safe way.

“This is unacceptable. It is a risk for the community in the mornings when they go to work. The neighbourhood watch previously looked after the house. We need to take ownership of this house,” said Ms Leng.

Ward 82 councillor Washiela Harris said because Ms Hendricks is the owner of the house, their hands are tied.

“This house has been a problem and both the mother and daughter are mentally ill. The City of Cape Town can only do so much. The neighbourhood watch was given access to have their base there just to eliminate the problem. It is not City property, it’s private property. They need to take ownership of what’s happening at the house. The mother and daughter at times would chase people away if help comes to them,” said Ms Harris.

Ms Harris said social development and the health department have also visited the house.

The house also shows signs of fire damage. Allegedly someone in the house made a fire two months ago. The house caught fire and continued burning. While the house is still standing, the windows are broken, the back door is missing, parts of the roof have burnt and the inside of the house is covered in soot.

In response to enquiries from the Plainsman, Jermaine Carelse, spokesperson for Fire and Rescue Service, said they have no log of a fire at the house in Tafelsig. Sergeant Zandi Langa, Mitchell’s Plain SAPS spokesperson, also said their office has no records of a fire at the house.

Sergeant Langa said the homeowner has also not opened a case with the police relating to intimidation or that the house was being used unwillingly (on the part of the homeowner) as a drug den by criminals.

She said Mitchell’s Plain police went to the address and found that the house is not burned, officers also found no one inside the house but one of the neighbours confirmed that the owner of the house is mentally challenged and is receiving medical attention from a nearby hospital.

The house does look abandoned and all the windows are broken and it is not well looked after, Sergeant Langa said.

When the Plainsman visited the address, the mother and homeowner, Jocelyn Hendricks, 64, kept repeating herself, saying someone needs to fix her kitchen as their kitchen sink and their microwave had been stolen.

“I am sad that my house is like this but what must we do, what can we do to fix it? My daughter was not home and is being treated at a hospital in Lentegeur. We need our home fixed. Someone needs to fix this house,” said Ms Hendricks.

Five people stayed in the house Ms Hendricks said but they’re currently two people at home while her daughter was allegedly in hospital last week.

Abigail Menas, 26, from Tafelsig who lives with Ms Hendricks, said a man made a fire in the house. He comes and goes at the house.

“The house must be fixed but Jocelyn didn’t really want help from those wanting to help her fix her house. They need help. It is unsafe at night as they can break in to her home and steal goods,” she said.

Ilhaam Adams, also from Thusanang Community Development, said they really want to help the family.

Ms Leng found the daughter laying in front of a fast food restaurant in the Town Centre on Monday June 20. Ms Leng and Ms Adams took her home and made sure she was okay before they left.

Charles Stuurman, from Happy Feet NPO, said as a community “we must help them”.

“Mentally they are not well. However, we must help them with what we have. Many times I go in and ask them what they’re doing here, to those who don’t belong. This cannot continue anymore,” said Mr Stuurman.