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Gone without a trace

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Gone without a trace

by Tammy Petersen
16 Sep 2008
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

SITTING PRETTY one moment, gone the next. This is how Hanover Park's triple storey council flat residents describe the manner in which their window sills "disappeared".

Raw cement and slits that allow outsiders to look into homes have residents outraged - they say nobody asked their consent for the sills to be removed.

The removal has been taking place since the beginning of the year and is still underway.

One resident, who asked to remain anonymous, says one morning she fetched her daughter from a nearby school and when she returned, all that remained was "a window and a gap".

"I thought the skollies have lost their minds and had started stealing cement, but then I saw everyone else's sills were gone too. But I never gave anyone permission to remove it; it was painted last year and still looked nice."

Maria Spannenberg from Cascade Court says she was inside her flat when she heard workers hammering, and when she asked what they were doing, they apparently told her they were going to replace her window sills.

"But do you think I ever saw them again? Not with these eyes."

Noogh Arafdien from Derwent Court says the space where his window used to be has caused "expensive problems" after the recent heavy rain. "Nobody asked me if they could break down that part of my house. Now the rain flows in through that small space and damages my curtains and my furniture. I had to move the furniture in my rooms so that the rain doesn't cause it to vrot. I don't have money to replace it."

Leona Ruiters from Cascade Court says her window sills disappeared in the blink of an eye - while she already has problems holding the windows together.

"My latches have been broken for a long time. I use forks to hold my windows closed. Now they still take my window sill as well? No man, that's nonsense."

But ward councillor Ken Lategan says permission was not asked because the "dilapidated sills were a hazard", adding that the city's housing department commissioned the removal after a host of complaints from residents.

"If any part of that window sill falls on someone's head they can institute a claim against the city and we cannot have that. Therefore we had an inspection done and found the best option would be to remove them and thereafter replace them."

However, he adds that since all the triple storey flats will be renovated within the next two years, it would be "a waste of money" to replace the sills now.

"They will be replaced during the renovation, but complaints will be looked into and investigated immediately," Lategan concludes.

But the city's head of housing maintenance, Heine Scott, has no recollection of ever giving the go-ahead on the project, adding that the complaints as well as the procedure will be investigated.

Manenberg ward councillor Abduragiem Orrie says none of the window sills in the Manenberg flats will be removed as they were already repaired last year. Athlone ward councillor Mustapha Murudker says that no removal of window sills is planned for their areas. No other repairs are anticipated until the official renovation of the flats, which is estimated to start in April next year.

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