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Cassim Park shopping complex now lawless badlands


30 June 2022

One of the business owners in the area lamented that state of the complex, and dangers inherent with the regression.

The Cassim Park Complex in has, over the past several years, systematically regressed to a crime-ridden rotten spot in the once-glorious Cassim Park. Despite a constant barrage of complaints from residents and business owners, Msukaligwa Local Municipality turns a blind eye and a deaf ear. Upon visiting the complex, one’s nose is greeted with a hearty serving of old, rank urine, mixed with rotting refuse that lone the sidewalk and roadway. Makeshift testing grounds sees lumbering heavy vehicles crunch over shards of broken liquor bottles, while unsavory characters skulk around in and around the dilapidated buildings. At the centre of the complex, a group of vagrants have staked out the charred husk of a building, which they now call home.

The outside walls are blackened with soot from daily fires made to melt down cable casings to get to the valuable innards, while the inside of the building is wrought with human faeces, old blankets and refuse. Any item of value has long been stripped from the walls, and the PVC drainage pipes, both interior and exterior, have been reduced to ash by the flames. A lonely, stripped wreckage of a vehicle has, oddly, also made an appearance. Piles of wiring that holds no monetary value is left smoldering, while vagrants loot the surrounding businesses for anything of value. Miraculously, the few remaining mast lights still stand tall, but have been out of order for several years, encouraging criminal behavior in the dead of night. Heaps upon heaps of liquor bottles and other manner of refuse are dumped on site by unknown individuals, including garden refuse.

One would assume that the lack of service delivery in Cassim Park attributes to the dumping of refuse, as the municipal refuse collection service often fails to do rounds, or leave entire wards uncollected. The absence of municipal refuse bins and skip bins also contribute to the ghastly state of the area, as litterbugs have a field day. One of the business owners in the area lamented that state of the complex, and dangers inherent with the regression. “The state in which this complex, and Cassim Park as whole, finds itself in is nothing short of a travesty. If only the mast lights were to be operational, at least we’d have some peace of mind at night.

But, alas, this is not the case. Our businesses and premises are being ransacked on a weekly basis by criminals looking for scrap metal to trade. In one of these buildings, a pop-up scrap dealer has opened its doors, and in my opinion, directly contributes to the soaring crime rate in Cassim Park. I’m not sure if the dealer is operating legally, but I do know that it really impacts the crime rate. Time after time I have caught brigands on my premises, looting anything of value to go and sell. It’s a pain for by business, as well as many others.

The fact that we face constant electrical outages due to dilapidated junction boxes only aggravates the situation. It’s as if the municipality simply does not care what happens to their residents.” he stated. The Tribune lodged an enquiry with Msukaligwa Local Municipality regarding the state of affairs, as well as the issue regarding the mast lights. The municipal spokesman, Mandla Zwane, stated that the municipality is investigating, and will provide a response.

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