Public Works hires 24-hour security for harbour ruin

The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure says it was unable to stop rampant vandalism at the old Oceana fishmeal factory despite bricking up all entrances and openings and posting security guards.

The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure says it has hired a 24-hour tactical-response security company to protect what is left of the heavily vandalised Oceana fishmeal factory in Hout Bay Harbour.

Despite bricking up all entrances and openings and posting security guards, the department had failed to stop the rampant vandalism, said spokesman Thami Mchunu.

“Vandals came in large numbers and they were armed. Numerous cases of vandalism, theft and robbery have been opened with the Hout Bay SAPS in relation to the precinct as well as damages to state property, and many arrests have already been made,” Mr Mchunu said.

The new security company was hired last month “to restore order and prevent further vandalism,“ he said.

Oceana ended its lease with the department in March last year, handing the site back. The fishmeal plant closed in December 2019, following a fall in production and complaints about the smell.

The abandoned factory soon drew the attention of vandals who stripped it of pipes, bricks, roof sheets, wiring and anything else of any value (“Hout Bay Harbour: A Vandals paradise,” Sentinel News, May 6).

Up until now, the department has offered little clarity on the apparent lack of security at the site or how it managed to fall into ruin so quickly.

Mr Mchunu said the vandalism had disrupted the department’s plans to lease the building.

“It became evident that the only manner in which to deal with the level of crime/vandalism was to appoint a 24-hour tactical response security company,” he said, adding that no new cases of vandalism had been reported since.

Ward councillor Roberto Quintas said the City was “eager and willing” to meet with the department to discuss its plans for the site.

“Hopefully we can have a meeting of minds and objectives. The City is in the position to enable approvals for rezoning and other planning items, and our desire to see a different harbour that creates jobs and stimulates a local economy makes our interest and commitment to work with the department sincere and necessary,” he said.

In 2019, Mr Quintas’s motion to “re-imagine the Hout Bay Harbour” as a place of opportunity for Hangberg residents was accepted by sub-council (“Re-imagining Hout Bay Harbour,” Sentinel News, August 30, 2019).