Spectators stood around as contractors for the city demolished what remained of the original building which over the years became famous as an illegal shebeen and drug outlet. The demolition of the city-owned building, which cost just over R135,000, marked a new epoch in the city’s battle against drugs, and the first phase of the city’s plans to redevelop the site into a multi-purpose deployment base for the city’s Law Enforcement Department.
Two years ago, in 2013, after a lengthy battle, the city reclaimed the building from its occupants and started to envision how the property could be re-imagined to benefit the community.
“This is a truly significant milestone in our battle to reclaim city-owned properties for good,” said the city’s Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille.
“The Little House on the Prairie has a history as one of the most problematic sites in the city, but we persevered and eventually wrestled the property from the hands of the occupants. I am excited by the possibilities that come with the demolition and look forward to the final product which will not only stand as a bastion of law and order, but will also bring service delivery closer to our communities and help build a safer city for all.”
JP Smith, the city’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, said: “I had my heart set on turning the property into a Law Enforcement base from the outset – not only to serve as a lasting reminder of how this particular story ended, but also because we don’t have a deployment base in this part of the city.
“I am very happy that we’re finally getting the wrecking ball moving and am excited about how this will improve our services. This deployment station will service all neighbouring areas including the informal settlement situated next to it. It will also allow for quicker response times to incidents as it is close to both Robert Sobukwe Drive and Stellenbosch Arterial.”
Construction of the multi-purpose site is expected to be completed at the end of June 2017.