140728. cape town. Some of the buildings and structures on the Tamboerskloof farm were declared as unsafe and people are no longer allowed to live in them. An informal “foster farm” that has operated in the heart of Tamboerskloof for almost 20 years will have to make way for a guest house, VIP accommodation and a conference centre if plans to develop the SANDF-owned land are approved. Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus

Cape Town - The old military base in Tamboerskloof has officially been declared a “problem building” by the City of Cape Town.

Ward councillor Dave Bryant confirmed that a compliance notice and an official declaration of Erf 81 as a problem building was served on its owner, the national Department of Public Works, on July 11.

JP Smith, the mayoral committee member for safety and security, said that in terms of the city’s problem building by-law, Public Works could be asked to repair, renovate, repaint, alter, close, demolish or secure the buildings on the site.

“It remains the owner’s responsibility to seek an eviction order for the removal of any people living unlawfully on the property.”

The Department of Public Works did not respond yesterday to queries about its response to the city’s declaration.

Bryant said the city had been forced to respond to “many complaints and concerns from local residents of Tamboerskloof and the Bo-Kaap about this piece of property”.

He had tried several times to meet representatives from the Department of Public Works to resolve the matter so the property could be properly managed.

“There is a very real concern relating to crime emanating from the area – drug dealing, dumping and unhygienic conditions which have a direct impact on residents (of these areas).”

A call last year for concept drawings by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research for the conversion of the Tamboerskloof military magazine into a conference facility, as well as the construction of a retirement home on the site for military veterans, raised hopes that the national government had finally come up with a plan for the land.

But the call was abruptly withdrawn, and the Department of Public Works has to date failed to provide a plan of action for the site and its problem buildings.

The city’s intention to draw the line and finally take action sparked mixed reactions from residents and some of the tenants.

John Nankin, an artist with a studio on the property, said there was a misperception about the nature of the activities at the farm.

He said the caretaker, André Laubscher, and he had briefed the community policing forum several times and taken part in crime-fighting operations.

The crime emanated from the adjoining site at the top of Collingwood Road, said Nankin.

“By contrast, apart from a very few juvenile incidents, we have had no crime on Erf 81,” he said.

But Bryant has confirmed that the Collingwood settlement is in fact part of Erf 81.

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Cape Argus