News / South Africa / Local News

Felicia Nkhwashu
2 minute read
25 Apr 2019
12:43 pm

Tshwane metro’s programme to address issues at crime-infested ‘White House’

Felicia Nkhwashu

The notorious building has in recent years gained notoriety as a den for criminals, drug addicts and prostitutes.

FIle photo of Councillor Godfrey Mulaudzi at the notorious White House. Photo: Felicia Nkhwashu

The Tshwane metro said it would deal with the “problematic” so-called White House building in Sunnyside through its “bad building” programme.

Under the programme, the metro engages with landlords or business owners to refurbish their buildings, reports Pretoria East Rekord.

“The city of Tshwane understands the frustration of the community in the area,” said Tshwane metro spokesperson Lindela Mashigo.

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The notorious building, located in Gerard Moerdyk Street, has in recent years gained notoriety as a den for criminals, drug addicts, and prostitutes.

Mashigo said through the programme, the metro would issue contravention notices to landlords and business owners whose buildings were in a bad state.

They are then given 14 days to rectify the buildings.

“Failure to comply means we embark on court processes,” he said.

“Based on what the court orders, we can condemn and demolish the building in question.”

Mashigo said it should, however, be noted the White House is a “legacy transaction which was entered on by the previous administration”.

“We will not absolve ourselves of dealing with the matter,” he said.

“But we need to be cautious in addressing the matter given the lease agreement that is in place. The city has learned an expensive lesson and is cautious when it comes to taking harsh decisions in demolishing buildings.”

As an example, he cited the case of the Kruger Park building.

“We were instructed to seek an alternative accommodation and pay for those residents. This was a Constitutional Court ruling. We have now decided to tread carefully and we are carefully considering options of resolving this matter.”

He previously told Pretoria East Rekord that a private group was liable for the White House property.

A few weeks ago, Sunnyside police were attacked near the building, allegedly by residents.

Police spokesperson Captain Daniel Mavimbela had called for the building to be demolished.

“It remains a concern because it makes it hard for us to perform our duties during patrols,” Mavimbela said.

“The building is also unsuitable for habitation and should be demolished for the safety of residents.”

Local ward councillor Godfrey Mulaudzi said a team was sent to inspect the building and were preparing a report for the council.

“The report will condemn the building for demolition. According to an inspection conducted, the building is not safe. The report will serve before council next month,” said Mulaudzi.

“This is what we have been calling [for] for a long time now.”

He said the report, however, did not cover the entire Overzicht property, which includes shops along Gerard Moerdyk Street, which the community has been complaining about.

Mulaudzi said during a public meeting, the local community mandated him to prepare a petition demanding an update on the building’s status.

“The place is a source of crime in Sunnyside,” he said.

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