Woman wants City to foot bill for damages

A Rocklands woman was left with a limp, scratches and bruises after her bedroom ceiling fell on her at about 1.40am, on Friday January 20.

Sonia Bailey was asleep when her husband, who does not want to be named, heard a scratching sound as he returned from the bathroom, and shouted for her to take cover as.

Then the cracked ceiling board came crashing down on them.

Ms Bailey, who has lived in the house for 25 years, said they have had endless problems with children playing in the open space behind their house, and kicking the ball on to their asbestos roof.

“To get the ball, they climb our wall and walk on our roof to retrieve the ball,” she said.

Her husband said they had contacted former and current ward councillors for assistance, but they have been turned away with the instruction that they are responsible for maintaining their privately- owned house.

Ms Bailey, however, believes the City of Cape Town should be held liable for the damage because, she claims, the children playing in the open space and the park next their house, often kick balls against their wall and side gate.

When the Plainsman asked Johan van der Merwe, mayoral committee member for finance, who should be held liable when activities in public open spaces impact neighbouring properties, he said the City’s Insurance Department would proceed with the registration of the claim and look into the merits of the case.

This, he said, could only be done once the City had received completed claim form, but they have not yet received one.

Mr Van der Merwe encouraged Ms Bailey to submit their claim for damages by completing the public liability claim form and to submit all supporting documents, in writing, to the City’s claims section.

The insurance claim form can be accessed from the City’s website.

He said each claim is assessed on its own merit, which includes assessment of whether there has been any negligence or omission on the City’s side.

“Once the City has received the claimant’s formal correspondence, a reference number will be provided for all future liaison,” said Mr Van der Merwe.

The claim must be submitted to the Insurance Section, either viae-mail charlene.harmse@
capetown.gov.za, fax 086 202 9701 or post to Chief Claims Administrator, Public Liability Claims, Insurance Section, Third Floor, Cape Town Civic Centre, Tower Block, 12 Hertzog Boulevard, Cape Town, 8001.