Four people shot on public works property in Wynberg

Two days prior to the shooting, Parliament recommended the property become a drug rehabilitation centre

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This stripped and illegally occupied house on a two-hectare property in Wynberg, Cape Town, owned by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, is believed to be the site of a shooting which left four people wounded on Friday. Archive photo: Steve Kretzmann

  • The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure has let a two-hectare property in the residential heart of Wynberg, Cape Town, become derelict.
  • A stripped house on the property has become illegally occupied, with residents stating drugs are regularly consumed there.
  • Residents have requested Parliament to demolish stripped and burnt-down buildings on the property, which is surrounded by schools.

Four people were on Friday shot in a derelict building owned by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure in Wynberg, known to be frequented by drug users.

The shooting took place in the same building which Parliament, two days prior to the shooting, recommended become a drug rehabilitation centre.

Provincial police spokesperson Wesley Twigg stated an unknown gunman entered the house in Waterloo Green, Wynberg, at about 9.30pm and shot at the four men.

Twigg said one man was shot in the head and the other three “sustained gunshot wounds to their bodies”. All four were taken to hospital and the motive for the attack is “yet to be determined”.

Four counts of attempted murder are being investigated, stated Twigg.

Waterloo Green, owned by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI), is a two-hectare property with one stripped and derelict house, one partially stripped house currently protected by private security, a thatch house that has burnt down, two houses that appear occupied but in need of maintenance, and SAPS garages. A large portion of the land is an open park.

Twigg could not say in which building the shooting occurred, but the stripped and derelict house is known by residents to be unlawfully occupied, and drug paraphernalia is often found in the area.

Parliament’s Public Works and Infrastructure Portfolio Committee has previously lambasted the DPI for mismanagement of the property, which is in the heart of the suburb and surrounded by schools.

At its meeting on Wednesday 21 February, the committee recommended the property be converted into a drug rehabilitation centre, and the heritage value of the buildings needed to considered.

In November last year the committee was presented with a petition by Wynberg residents wanting the derelict buildings to be demolished as they were “illegally occupied and have become a haven for criminal activities”.

The petition notes the surrounding Wynberg girls and boys high and junior schools have previously tried to lease the property, to no avail.

Last week, standing committee chair Nolitha Ntobongwana (ANC) said presentations from the DPWI and the community had been considered.

Committee content advisor Shuaib Denyssen said the committee was collecting information to present to the National Assembly.

Denyssen said a written report from the regional DPWI office on options other than demolition or sale of the properties had been requested, but nothing had been received as yet.

He said Wynberg residents were “absolutely right” to be concerned about the “social ills” that were currently prevalent in the area.

Resident Sam Wilcox-Diedericks, who lives close to Waterloo Green said there needed to be a “reality check” about what was possible.

“Those properties weren’t even on the books of the department until it was raised (through the petition sent to Parliament).”

Ward councillor Emile Langenhoven (DA), told GroundUp the committee “did not understand the dynamics on the ground.”

“If they actually knew what was happening they would have occupied that space a long time ago. I also have reservations about them building anything on that property.”

He also said it was “extremely disappointing” that the regional office had not submitted its written report as requested by the committee at its previous meeting.

Wynberg Residents and Ratepayers Association executive member Phillippa Duncan said the area near the DPWI’s property remained “incredibly unsafe” and the buildings were beyond saving.

“They should have looked after those properties twenty years ago.

“As far as residents go, they will never agree to have a rehabilitation centre smack in the middle of a residential area … that is also smack in the middle of a school zone,” said Duncan.

The regional office of the DPWI did not respond to questions sent last week.

TOPICS:  Crime

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