Activist denies occupants of old Woodstock Hospital committing crimes in area

The building has been occupied since last year by Reclaim The City, which also behind the occupation of the Helen Bowden Nurses Home near the V&A Waterfront.

Housing activist Denver Arendse at the old Woodstock Hospital in Cape Town. Picture: Monique Mortlock/EWN

CAPE TOWN - A housing activist has refuted claims that those occupying the old Woodstock Hospital are committing crimes in the area.

The building has been occupied since last year by Reclaim The City, which also behind the occupation of the Helen Bowden Nurses Home near the V&A Waterfront.

Mayoral committee member for Safety and Security JP Smith says there have been complaints about the Woodstock occupation and authorities have recovered stolen property at the premises.

Activist Denver Arendse, an occupant at the old Woodstock Hospital and one of the elected "chapter" leaders, denies the City of Cape Town's claims.

Arendse says occupants have their own internal disciplinary processes to deal with people who don't adhere to the house rules.

"Should it go further than that, we would definitely call in SAPS [the South African Police Service]."

Eyewitness News attempted to question neighbours living around the hospital but some were not home and others didn't want to comment.

One resident, who wants to remain anonymous, says they've noticed an increase in the number of unknown people loitering around the hospital premises and more plants being stolen from gardens.

The man is not blaming those occupying the hospital but does believe the occupancy could be attracting criminals to the neighbourhood.