Hout Bay 'White House' has fallen
Tammy Petersen, News24
Cape Town - The contentious dilapidated Hout Bay building, dubbed the "White House", has fallen.
On Thursday, City of Cape Town officials started the demolition of the notorious crime haven, after the move was approved by full council on Wednesday.
The building was owned by the City’s Transport for Cape Town department.
According to locals, it was used as a base for muggers plaguing the Main Road.
Fed-up residents set fire to the house two weeks ago in an attempt to destroy it after months of complaints.
Brett Herron, mayoral committee member of Transport for Cape Town, said in a statement that the rubble would be deposited at the nearest dumping site before the close of business on Friday.
Officials started demolition work using a digger-loader machine to rip the building apart.
"If all goes according to plan, only the foundations will be left once we leave the property tonight [Thursday], rendering this safe haven for criminals something of the past," he said.
The property was initially used as a standby house for operational purposes by Transport for Cape Town, but has been unoccupied and derelict for years, said Herron.
"It has been extensively vandalised and, as a result, all salvageable materials, fixtures and fittings have been removed. The ceilings have also been damaged by fires lit by vagrants."
Herron said he regretted that it had taken so long for the building to be razed, but due process had to be followed.
"It must be noted that the City is compelled to follow due process where city-owned property is at stake - whether for refurbishment, demolition or sale.
"I also want to stress that we will all have to work together to ensure that the land is not illegally occupied after the rubble has been removed.
"Our residents must immediately report any illegal activities to the South African Police Service and the City," said Herron.
Hout Bay Civic Association secretary Roscoe Jacobs said the move was a victory for community activism and unity.