Crime and protests over services cost the City of Cape Town millions as it seeks to repair or replace damaged infrastructure.

A few days ago the Gugulethu Library was burgled by criminals who climbed through the roof to gain entrance into the facility, and in Delft a violent protest resulted in a housing sod-turning ceremony being cancelled and damage caused to a community centre.

“The Hague Recreation Centre in Delft was vandalised for the third time in four weeks. This time 11 windows were broken, two doors were burnt and a large number of items were stolen. It is absolutely unacceptable that the City’s members of staff, such as essential health workers are injured and intimidated and that our community facilities are destroyed.

Mayco member for community and health services Zahid Badroodien said “We have seen this happening across the metro. It leaves our vulnerable communities more vulnerable and robs our communities of services and facilities”.

A confidential report, which the Cape Argus has seen outlined the damages incurred between August 15 and September 30.

The human settlements directorate had the most severe chunk of damages because of protest action and damages to housing units within the Beacon Valley, Gugulethu and Pentech areas, amounting to R4.5 million.

This was followed by safety and security with damages to vehicles amounting to R52 608.

The transport directorate had major damages to road surfaces due to the burning of tyres in the Khayelitsha area, with damages costing R482 466, and community and health services, where there have been a number of damages to the Desmond Tutu Hall and Philippi East Hall, amounting to R103 312.

The recreation and parks department recently reported that theft at facilities was close to R3.8 million with vandalism costing the City R11 747 900.

Badroodien said “There is an ongoing and worsening trend across the city, but especially in our poorer communities, which sees our community facilities being vandalised and robbed of necessities to keep our facilities open and our services running. It is our residents in these very communities that require these essential services and facilities like community halls, libraries and clinics that are the biggest losers when these facilities have to close or are unable to operate because of a lack of staff or equipment.”

Mayco member for human settlements Malusi Booi said “Illegal occupations have a very negative impact on planned projects, community facilities, basic services, beneficiaries of housing projects and infrastructure expansion and maintenance. As it is, we have about R1.3 billion of human settlements projects that are under threat.”

ANC provincial legislature leader Cameron Dugmore said: “It’s time that the community take a stand against vandalism and come forward with the names of those responsible. It’s affecting our trains, our schools and community facilities. The government and police cannot solve this alone. When the community takes a stand we will be able to arrest and charge those responsible”.