Condemned danger house still standing

The house in Katrina Street in Hornlee has been condemned unfit for habitation, but nevertheless still stands, posing a risk to anyone in the vicinity, residents say.

KNYSNA NEWS - Residents in Hornlee are deeply worried about a derelict house that was built by the municipality in Katrina Street. The house has been condemned as uninhabitable, and poses a real threat for the community, they say.
 
"The house has been falling apart for as long as I can remember," said the owner Maurine Plaatjies, who stayed in the house for more than 20 years.
 
"My biggest worry is, what if the walls collapse and people get hurt? I've had meetings with the municipality and finally, at the beginning of the year, they sent an inspector. On January 24 we were asked to vacate the premises with immediate effect due to lives that may be in danger [because of the condition of the house]."
 
The municipality then built a temporary one-room Wendy house in the same yard for Plaatjies, who stays with her mentally ill 51-year-old brother Piet Plaatjies, with no water, electricity or toilet.
 
As they understand it, Plaatjies said, the house was to be demolished 21 days after they vacated the premises, but the house is still standing, even if barely so, now in mid-April.
 
"We stay in the same yard with another family and they have children, and on top of that, there is my brother who just randomly wanders off. The danger element they spoke about when they were evicting us is still there," continued Plaatjies.
 
"We first complained about the structure 10 years ago, I don't remember the exact date; we've given up on saving our home a long time ago. The municipality must just demolish it before people get hurt, and build us a new home as promised."
 
Rene Hurter, who stays in the same yard, said that last year the wind blew the roof from the house and it almost broke her windows.
 
"When the wind blows, pieces of the top of the house fall off. That could've easily been on one of my children or on Piet. The structure needs to be destroyed before it destroys us."
 
The two residents fear strong winds and storms like the recent one in Knysna (Sunday, April 9).
 
Stanley Jantjies, who also lives there, said, "The house is like this because of the municipality's negligence. They are negligent and risk our lives. I am not happy with the way they are doing things."
 
The Knysna municipality was asked for a comment and acting municipal manager Johnny Douglas said, "It was discovered by the acting building control officer that the property referred to in your query as Erf 5712 is structurally unsound and unsafe for any occupation.
 
Although there is a large wooden structure on the erf, the municipality delivered a second structure. The family has since been advised to move into this new structure. Our electrical department is currently busy with finalising the supply of electricity to this temporary structure."
 
There was no answer as to why the house has not yet been demolished by the municipality who deemed it uninhabitable.
 
Neville Korkee, an activist who also stays in Hornlee, said the municipality doesn't want to take responsibility for this house falling apart and also said there are so many municipality-built houses that are now falling apart, "The municipality is aware of these houses, but turns a blind eye. The only time they remember Hornlee residents is when they want rates and taxes."
 
 
The derelict house from the inside.
ARTICLE & PHOTOS: NWABISA PONDOYI, KNYSNA-PLETT HERALD JOURNALIST 
 
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