The root of all evil

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Breidbach pupils use abandoned building to smoke and use drugs

 A DILAPIDATED building situated in the centre of Breidbach, is causing health and safety concerns which has residents in the area frustrated and angry with the property owner.

TEAR IT DOWN: The abandoned building has become a matter of grave concern for Breidbach residents who demands it be demolished Pictures: DESMOND COETZEE

The building previously housed a hotel with a liquor outlet, as well as various shops ranging from a hair salon to a cafe. A block of flats was also attached to it.

The GO! reporter was inundated with calls from concerned residents who demanded the building to be demolished.

A visit to the building led to shocking discoveries, such as pupils from both local primary and secondary schools using the place to get together and smoke, use drugs and fight each other in full uniform.

The place is also infested with rats and a variety of dangerous creatures, such as scorpions and spiders, which poses a serious danger to the community.

Glorian Daniels lives few houses away from the scary building and said the situation has changed her son into a monster.

GRAVE CONCERN: A pupil ducks out when photos are taken at the abandoned building in the centre of Breidbach. The building is apparently a haven for people to use drugs and has become a hideout to commit crime

“My son is only 10 years old and for the past two years, I have been fighting a battle – I have had to search for him, only to find him there [in the abandoned building], hiding with friends and schoolmates. Once he became so aggressive [towards me when I approached him] that he grabbed me in front of his buddies,” Daniels said.

Breidbach Primary principal Ivan Harry confirmed that they have received numerous complaints from concerned parents and the community that pupils are hiding in the building during school hours.

“It might be true that some of our pupils are going there and we as the staff have planned to pay them a surprise visit soon while they are at that abandoned building,” Harry said.

Breidbach Secondary principal Les Mara said their very good security fencing system has helped the school to control pupils from leaving the premises unnoticed.

“Since our fencing was upgraded, I do not have the problem of pupils roaming there, but as a resident living close to that building, it is disgusting to see and hear what comes from there,” Mara said.

Sharon Kiewiets lives a few metres opposite the building and said she just wants it to be demolished.

“The building is their assembly point before and after school and that is when you see schoolchildren – boys and girls – doing all the funny things there,” Kiewiets said.

A school pupil in full uniform makes a run for it when the GO! & Express reporter’s camera is seen Picture: DESMOND COETZEE

“Weekends are even worse with lousy couples and revellers going on a drinking spree and making a noise throughout the evening. We don’t sleep in peace here. This is not fair and we demand steps to be taken as a matter of urgency,” Kiewiets added.

A senior citizen, who does not want to be named for fear of victimisation, said she has fallen victim to the criminality emanating from the building.

“One evening, I heard footsteps in my yard and when I investigated, I discovered that one of the poles of my washing line is missing,” said the 62-year-old woman, adding it is clear that the owner of the place is not bothered about what they are going through.

A former employer at one of the SPAR outlets in town said: “I quit my job during winter as a safety precaution after I was attacked a number of times while passing by there on my way to look for a taxi in the early hours of the morning.”

A prominent King William’s Town businessman, who wants to remain anonymous, told the GO! he was interested in buying the property before it reached the state it is in now, but his offer was turned down.

“I really wanted to buy the property and had plans from which the community could benefit, but the owner turned down my offer and it is shameful to see it becoming a haven for criminals,” he said.

Breidbach Sector Policing Forum’s Skapie Botha said the abandoned building posed a danger to the entire community and she would be happy if it was completely demolished.

Ward councillor Sixolisiwe Ntsasela could unfortunately not be reached for comment and all efforts to try and get hold of the property owner have been in vain.

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