Joburg man in cat fight with neighbours over feline forays, bins ...

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Joburg man in cat fight with neighbours over feline forays, bins and bikes

A man has, for more than a year, been at loggerheads with his complex’s residents. They tell a different story

Belinda Pheto and Jeff Wicks
Cats using his property as a toilet, people spying on him, bins being placed near his home to inconvenience him ... these are some of the issues that have raised Colin Errakiah's ire.
Pleasantville? Cats using his property as a toilet, people spying on him, bins being placed near his home to inconvenience him ... these are some of the issues that have raised Colin Errakiah's ire.
Image: 123RF

The good book says you should love thy neighbour, but for Johannesburg man Colin Errakiah, there is no love lost.

Errakiah, who lives in a complex in Weltevreden Park on the West Rand, has been at odds with his neighbours for more than a year.

The protracted spat has even drawn in the Community Scheme Ombud Services (CSOS), after the paramedic had his hackles raised, allegedly by roaming neighbourhood cats, CCTV cameras peering into his home and what he called the incorrect placement of bins.

Despite his protestations, on July 7 the CSOS jettisoned his complaint and called on him to make amends with managing agent Sandra Breedt so an amicable solution could be reached.

But as the situation stands, things are far from neighbourly.

According to a letter penned by Breedt on July 30, which Times Select has seen, Errakiah refused a truce.

The cats’ mess and their litter attract flies, and then you can’t even open your doors or windows as the flies come into your house … it is detestable.
Homeowner Colin Errakiah

He raised his ire in a wash of e-mails to Breedt, setting out his disgust that cats had used his garden as a toilet. 

“The cats’ mess and their litter attract flies, and then you can’t even open your doors or windows as the flies come into your house ... it is detestable,” he fumed.

“If you want to clean the mess there is no acceptable area to dispose of it except bins, which also attract flies,” he added.

Breedt had, according to correspondence seen by Times Select, proposed that pet owners put tags on their cats, a solution Errakiah made short shrift of.

“I am now forced to get CCTV cameras or perhaps a dog to prevent these littering [sic].

“I suggest that the body corporate instruct owners who have cats to circulate colour pictures of these cats,” he said, so he could identify the feline culprits.

“The tags are convenient for the daylight, but at night it is very difficult to identify them,” he added.

Errakiah had also taken exception to how his neighbour used bins provided by the complex, which was easier to resolve than the errant cat problem.

“The matter has been resolved and I’m happy. However, I notice that on odd occasions, when neighbours are washing their cars, they will intentionally place their bin on my side for about two hours,” he bleated.

“Other times they will place the bin in close proximity to my kitchen door, where I cannot see it, and then proceed to walk past my home to throw their dirt away ... figuratively [they are] showing me the finger,” Errakiah added in another complaint.

The board of trustees has endured a lot of unfounded remarks and statements from you and wishes to place it on record that they reserve the right to defend themselves should it be deemed necessary.
Managing agent Sandra Breedt

He took particular issue with one of his neighbours, saying that a resident from another property had trained CCTV cameras into his garden.

“This week he changed his cameras into my front yard, so my family and I have no privacy. I know we are under lockdown, but as I’m a health-care worker and [due to] the poor management of the body corporate, my mental health and work status has been compromised by these little disturbances.

“Should I worry about Covid-19 or Big Brother watching over my house? Some people have all the time to do all these things while some of us work,” he added.

He went on to say that his children had been victimised because they had been barred from riding their bicycles in the complex, while other children, he alleged, were allowed to roam free.

This was countered by Breedt in an e-mail.

“We want to place it on record that neither the board of trustees nor CSOS have advised you that your children are only allowed to play in their back yard. When was it noted and by whom that your children cannot ride their bicycles up and down the complex?” she quizzed.

“The board of trustees has endured a lot of unfounded remarks and statements from you and wishes to place it on record that they reserve the right to defend themselves should it be deemed necessary.”

But the dispute seemingly has no end in sight, with Errakiah still rankled.  

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