25 May 2012
Last week Monday, a house at 28 Van Eyssen Street burned down. The residents of the house had recently been evicted when evidence was presented in court that they were manufacturing illegal drugs on the property.
The house owner, Ms Gloria Truter, has accused her evicted tenants of arson, but the police suspect an electrical fault. She told GroundUp of her long struggle to evict the tenants. She said, “I suspect two of the evicted tenants are the ones who set the house on fire because they have been trespassing. When they were finally evicted, they said they will ‘show me.’ They did not want me to evict them, yet they had stopped paying rent and were vandalising the property. … I was desperate to throw them out. Every day I would move up and down to the police station. Lastly, I approached the Premier’s office and was advised to write a letter to Helen Zille. I now have security guards monitoring the property 24-hours. For now I do not know what I am going to do with the property. I am traumatised.”
Lieutenant Kevin Williams of Parow Police Station told GroundUp the house has been problematic for a long time. Parow residents were very disturbed with the occupants’ behaviour and drug dealing. The house has a history of many drug raids, and a few stolen property cases. “In partnership with the City Council, Parow Community Policing Forum, Law Enforcement, and Neighbourhood Watch, we managed to build ample evidence which was presented in court, and led to the eviction of the occupants. As for the fire which burnt down the house, we suspect an electrical fault. The occupants were evicted, there was no one hurt and there was only damage to the property. We are still investigating the cause,” said Lieutenant Williams.
Late last year, the Parow Preparatory School principal, Mrs Coetzee, approached school neighbour Mrs Zabi Thunzi to help her compile evidence to present to the City Council about the house which is only two properties away from the school. The house had become an eyesore to the residents, with no running water, and human waste lying about. Mrs Coetzee said, “I wrote letters and held several meetings with the City Council officials concerning that house. They talked about the occupants’ human rights, which I did not understand because those people did not behave like human beings at all. I will be checking on that house regularly, and I hope City Council will clean up the place soon.”