Abandoned houses breeds health hazards

An abandoned semi-detached house causes unbelievable health hazards for surrounding neighbours in Lion Street, Riverlea. According to a resident, the house belonged to a deceased ‘Mr Smith’ who apparently left the house in 1993, and ever since then, the house has been inviting unwanted guests into the street.

The neglected building is used as a toilet, gambling, smoking, and a drug den, people use it for sex, and the property is also used a refuse dump by residents who live in the flats which are directly opposite to the house.

The property is a breeding ground for rodents, cockroaches, lizards, and about two months ago a neighbour was visited by an unexpected guest who happens to be slithering on the stoep, to the neighbour’s detriment it was a green snake.

For over twenty years a resident has been complaining to the department of development planning, transportation and environment, City of Johannesburg, the health inspectors at the Region B offices, Human Resources and the Ward Councillor but nothing has been done.

The main problem is that the health inspectors has is find the owner, they stated that they need to find out who the owner is and thereafter, they will be able to issue a letter that will give the owner seven days to clean up the premises.

According to a resident, there is a family living in the abandoned house and over the two years, they have been collecting old types of furniture such as beds and broken couches, which are contributing to the breeding of the rats, and cockroaches.

“The woman who lives in that house claims that the councillor has given the house to her. So, I called Basil Douglas and he said that he’s not allowed to do that because it is private property, he came and spoke to the woman, I don’t know what he told her and then he left”, said that resident.

The police were notified about the crimes that take place in the abandoned property but they have made it clear that they cannot intervene when it comes to demolishing or sealing the property off because it is not council or state owned.

“I can’t say that my health has been affected but I have these big green flies in my kitchen, we cannot leave the windows open, children come and play on the roof.

“I constantly have to be alert in my own house. It’s really not fair. I got rats, Parktown prawns, ants and flying cockroaches that fly right against you as you walk in the house”.

There are pensioners who live on both sides of the abandoned house and now the affected resident depends on finding a way of getting a lawyer to hopefully put an end to the twenty-four-year nightmare.

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News site 1: Westside-EldosUrban News, News site 2: Soweto UrbanNews

Janice Beckett

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