Pensioners fear tree might collapse on their home

Maureen Jansen, 82, stands among the tins placed to catch leaks after a tree branch damaged the roof of the carport.
The tree blocks part of the driveway, and its roots are also growing towards the house.

Two Bonteheuwel pensioners fear an old tree in front of their house might collapse on them.

Maureen Jansen, 82, and her sister, Jean Jansen, 77, say they become anxious every time the wind blows. A big branch from the tree already fell on their carport, destroying parts of it. The sisters now place tins under the damaged roof when it rains to catch water from all the leaks.

“We have been living like this for almost a year. We have contacted the City of Cape Town and also informed our councillor, Angus McKenzie, about it. About three months ago, a bakkie with council staff came to check out the tree. Since then, nothing has been done. They just came to look at it. This tree is a danger to us,” said Jean.

The tree was planted by the municipality on the pavement in front of Jansen sisters’ home many years ago. The roots are now also growing towards the house, and the sisters fear they might go under the foundations.

Maureen said the tree also blocked part of their driveway and they had to pay someone to sweep up the leaves.

“Just last week, my grandson drove into the tree when he reversed out of our driveway. We want it removed,” Jean said.

Their neighbour, Clive de Kock, said apart from the danger the tree posed, it had also affected his relationship with his neighbours.

“The story of the tree has been coming on for a long time. I have lovely neighbours, but this tree has become a greater problem. When they receive visitors, they park in front of my house, and this can sometimes cause a bit of conflict. On the day that the huge branch fell, my car was luckily parked opposite the road. I have been emailing the manager of the City’s department of recreation and parks, but my emails have just been ignored. The tree has been trimmed before, but the whole tree must go,” Mr De Kock said.

Mr McKenzie said he would help the sisters “in whichever way possible” and he was concerned about the claim that the recreation and parks department had not responded to their complaints.

“I am very sure we can do something about it. We will ensure that we get the department out to do the necessary assessment and see what we are able to do. I can commit that we will assist,” Mr McKenzie said.

He urged residents to contact him if a service request had not been resolved.