Death at filthy club

Health and safety hazards posed by a derelict tennis club in New Muckleneuk were underlined when a young man was found dead on the property.

The man appeared to have died from a drug overdose on Thursday at the club that has become the home and toilet of some 50 vagrants and drug users.

Paramedics, who declared the man dead on the scene, believed the man died after he had injected himself with nyaope. Drug paraphernalia and remnants of nyaope were found near the body.

Situated next to a nursery school and upmarket office building in Bronkhorst Street, the tennis club has for years been a thorn in the side of residents and workers in the area.

Brooklyn police spokesman Captain Colette Weilbach said it was a crime hot-spot, adding that police, the Tshwane metro police and the Brooklyn CPF regularly raided the club.

She said the police regularly patrolled the area and embarked on crime prevention operations, such as searching for drugs and for undocumented persons.

Weilbach confirmed the death at the tennis club on Thursday.

Brooklyn CPF chairman Paul Fouché told Rekord that residents, tenants in the office buildings, the forum and the police, have had enough of the “cesspool” in the heart of the elite suburb.

“We experience problems here almost daily but as far as cleaning the club grounds up and removing the illegal occupants, our hands are tied,” he said.

Fouché explained that the uncertainty about the ownership of the valuable parcel of land was one of the main problems for the police and security companies who wanted to remove the people who had made the abandoned club their home.

Documents seen by Rekord indicated that the Tshwane metro had entered into a deal to sell the property.

But a forensic report about the sale of the land pointed out several alleged serious discrepancies regarding the transaction.

The outcome of a court case involving the multi-million rand deal has been pending since 2006.

The property, valued at more than R28 million in the 2005 forensic report, resembled a filthy junk yard with bedding, clothing, rubbish and used needles all over the grounds.

Squatters have also started erecting some structures.

DA spokesman for spatial development Siobhan Muller expressed her frustration, saying she had been trying to find a solution to the situation for several years.

She said while the metro could give no answers, there had been parties interested in leasing and developing the club.

“Two years ago, we handed a petition to the metro council regarding the derelict buildings and hoped for action to finalise the outstanding court case which I am sure is conveniently being ignored while the residents and businesses pay the price,” she said.

The municipality refused to take action as they said the property had been sold to a property development company and therefore they must clean the area.

“However, officially the property is still owned by Tshwane pending the court case. So they should apply their own by-law against their own derelict building.

“There is a nursery school right next to the tennis club which has to deal with the smell and the vagrants daily.”

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Stephané Bothma

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