Monwabisi Park informal settlement residents protest after the City of Cape Town wanted to replace their temporary toilets, set sections of the Monwabisi resort alight. Photographer: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)
Monwabisi Park informal settlement residents protest after the City of Cape Town wanted to replace their temporary toilets, set sections of the Monwabisi resort alight. Photographer: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

City of Cape Town spending tens of millions on vandalised infrastructure

By Marvin Charles Time of article published Oct 21, 2020

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Cape Town - Recreational infrastructure in townships across the city was vandalised and destroyed by protesters to the tune of R10 million in one month alone, with an additional R10m in damage due to other other incidents.

The combined insured value of these facilities amounted to R205m.

Mayco member for community and health services Zahid Badroodien said: “Aside from the direct losses, there is also a secondary impact caused by incidents that not only put the lives of staff at risk, but also incapacitate the facilities for use and in so doing deprive the communities they serve of these resources for long periods.”

The estimated value of losses for land invasions and public protests at Recreation and Sports facilities is R10 653 900.

“Looking after our facilities requires the support and collaboration of everyone in the community.

“Residents need to take ownership of these facilities and we need to work together to combat the scourge of criminal activity in and around our community spaces.

The City has listed eight facilities and properties that have been vandalised through protest action and land invasions between July and Augusts.

The Wallacedene Community Park was vandalised in June. The estimated cost of loss and damage was R63 900.

Kraaifontein Development Forum secretary Louis Bophta said: “These facilities are much-needed for our community and we find it unacceptable that there are no proper security arrangements to protect our facilities. Protesters are allowed to do this because they are just getting a slap on the wrist.”

The OR Tambo Sport Centre in Khayelitsha was vandalised twice in July with an estimated loss of R750 000.

Khayelitsha Development Forum’s Ndithini Tyhido said: “The impact of vandalism on that facility was devastating because the venue is used to host various cultural events. The facility is also used for temporary accommodation for community members who have lost their homes through shack fires.”

In August the Philippi East Hall was vandalised during a protest action. Protesters broke the gate, gained access to the facility, then forced their way into the hall, damaging the locks and doors in the process.

They demanded access as they claimed the area they were living on (Marikana) was flooded. Currently, over 400 people are living in the hall and the amount is increasing almost daily.

The Desmond Tutu Recreation Centre, also in Khayelitsha, was vandalised twice in July with damages amounting to R6 million.

In early July the Monwabisi Resort was set alight with damage estimated at R2.5m, while the St James bathing boxes were set alight on August 8 resulting in R30 000 worth of damage.

DA provincial spokesperson on community safety Reagen Allen said: “I am deeply concerned about the spate of vandalism and theft at community centres/facilities and call on residents to report such incidents to the SAPS. Vandalism and theft at community centres, at times the only safe space in gang-ridden communities, deprive residents and especially young people from utilising the centres.”

ANC City Caucus leader Xolani Sotashe said: “We have to double our efforts to educate our communities about the dangers of vandalism and theft.”

Cape Argus

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