Vandals target Hout Bay’s Gateway

Plastic bottles tied to the tree aloe, exhibiting a number of gouge marks to its bark.

The Hout Bay gateway, which opened to great fanfare in December, has been vandalised.

In the latter part of last year, the traffic circle at the entrance to Imizamo Yethu was beautified with mosaics and plants, but in the past few weeks has been targeted by vandals who have gouged the tree aloe’s bark and tied empty glass and plastic bottles around its trunk. Empty beer bottles are also strewn about the area.

“It is alleged that some children of Imizamo Yethu are vandalising the community-donated aloe tree in the recently completed gateway,” said ward councillor Roberto Quintas.

“There are broken bricks and rocks with aloe fibres being found, large gouges present on the bark of the tree and screws and nails inside the tree.

“This is heartbreaking and devastating to not only me as the ward councillor, but also the kind donors who worked in partnership with the City to beautify this circle. I condemn vandalism and malicious damage to public and private property in the strongest possible terms and encourage our community to make a stand against this ongoing scourge in Hout Bay.”

Donations and funds for the installation were sourced from a number of community members, including La Cuccina restaurant including La Cuccina restaurant owner Ian Gersowsky and Selwyn Vandeyar of the Hout Bay English Reformed Church.

Earthworx Garden World owner Gwen Gower, who volunteered to green the circle, described the vandalism as “shocking”.

“It is clear the people who are vandalising the area just don’t care. This is being done at night. Initially I thought it must be children who are doing it, but then you see gouge marks higher up the tree, so it could be adults as well,” she said.

“I also wonder whether someone had not reacted to Rob’s (Mr Quintas) Facebook post about the vandalism, because the bottles tied to the tree were not there before.

“Last weekend I requested some of the guys looking for work along the roadside to clean up the area, which they did. But we’ll see if the vandalism happens again.”

Ms Gower added that whoever was responsible for ruining the installation should be punished.

“They have no pride in the area. It is also a crying shame that when cladding was added to the installation no one bothered to clean up afterwards. This whole area is untidy, and something has to be done about it.”