Slow but steady progress at Bellona Street

The derelict hulk of 6 Bellona Street, Bridgewater, Somerset West, a source of concern for local residents for almost seven years, may soon be demolished if all goes according to plan.

If things go according to plan, the problem building at 6 Bellona Street, Bridgewater, Somerset West, could be a thing of the past by the end of March.

The once proud manor house, now a blackened ruin, is allegedly occupied by prostitutes, drug dealers and criminals, according to concerned local residents who have been fighting for over seven years for the City of Cape Town to evict the squatters, and either demolish the building, or secure it against further squatting.

Bolander reported on two meetings between angry residents and Western Cape MEC for safety and security, Dan Plato, in pursuit of a solution, but all the meetings led to was “re-confirmation” that the City was pursuing a demolition permit, in terms of the Problem Building By-Law (“Bellona Street building set for demolition”, November 16 2016; “Bellona Street stalemate”, November 30 2016).

Pleas from residents to evict the squatters and secure the property against further occupation until it could be demolished, did not lead to any action, with Mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, claiming the City did not have the money: “There are a couple of hundred problem buildings across the
City. The City could never afford to pay for security guards at all of them.”

Mr Smith said at the time, that a supply chain management process was under way to appoint a demolition contractor.

The tender was advertised from November 18 to December 9 2016, in accordance with the City’s supply chain management protocol.

Speaking on behalf of the City, Mayoral committee member for Cape Town’s Eastern Region, Anda Ntsodo, updated Bolander on progress to date last week.

“The contractor was appointed through the bid adjudication committee on Monday January 30, and the 21-day appeal process concluded at close of business on Tuesday 21 February,” Mr Ntsodo told Bolander.

“If no appeals are received, the site should be handed over to the contractor for demolition by mid-March.

“The City had to follow due supply chain management processes in order to acquire the service in an open, transparent and competitive manner.”

The owner of 6 Bellona Street owes the City in excess of R745 000, according to a municipal account in Bolander’s possession.

Asked whether the City has made any progress in this regard, Mr Ntsodo said: “The debt recovery process is still under way.

“The legal collection process is being followed, which will lead to a sale in execution if the debt is not settled.”