Residents fed up as BCM lets Beacon Bay house fall apart

A three-bedroomed Beacon Bay home owned by Buffalo City Metro (BCM), which has been stripped to a shell and become home to vagrants, has raised the ire of ratepayers.

The ravaged facebrick home on Quinera Drive is about a block from Life Beacon Bay Hospital and the exclusive Triple Point residential and office development.

Democratic Alliance Ward 4 councillor Marion Mackley said she had referred the issue for investigation by the municipal public accountability committee of council, saying the house had reached a point where it was now structurally unsound.

She said the house was bought by BCM in 2010 but had never been occupied.

When a Daily Dispatch team visited the property yesterday, a homeless man was tying his shoelaces at what used to be the entertainment area before trudging away from the house.

All fittings, wiring and plumbing have been plundered, as have window frames, double garage doors, ceiling boards and the front door.

The roof had gaping holes and the garden was overgrown.

Human excrement lay piled up in the garage and master bedroom, while the bath has been used as a fireplace, and old food and clothes littered the floor, among other debris.

Beacon Bay Ratepayers’ executive member Dianne Stephens said it was “absolutely disgusting” that BCM had allowed the house to degenerate to the point it needed to be demolished.

Stephens, who works at Life Beacon Bay Hospital, said she drove past the property daily and had watched it systematically being dismantled over the years.

“After it was bought by BCM, new aluminium windows were installed, as was a lovely sliding gate and front wall, but then I noticed that slowly but surely it was being damaged.

“The garage doors disappeared, then I saw the hole in the roof and now there is nothing left. Could BCM not have rented it out or sold it?

“In a lovely area like this, it is an absolute disgrace.”

Stephens said the topic of the abandoned house had come up at ratepayers meetings several times and that she had written a letter of complaint to BCM about it a year ago.

“But nothing has been done.”

DA Ward 29 branch chairman Lungani Sanqela said he was concerned the house could become a haven for criminals.

“People walking to and from the hospital could be pulled in here and raped. I’m disappointed that the municipality has not taken care of this house.”

Mackley said two years ago the municipality had lodged an insurance claim to repair damage to the property.

“Insurers agreed to pay half the costs, with BCM having to cover the balance.

“At this stage the repair costs were in the vicinity of R216000. No decision was made to proceed and the insurance claim hangs in the balance,” wrote Mackley in a media statement.

She said repairs were no longer being considered and that costs to demolish and rebuild the property had escalated to about R1.5-million, which amounted to “fruitless and wasteful expenditure”.

“It’s an absolute shame that a municipality can neglect valuable assets and allow them to deteriorate to such a degree that it has no value.”

Despite repeated requests for comment, BCM had not responded to Daily Dispatch queries at the time of writing. — barbarah@dispatch.co.za

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