Image of a dilapidated house in Tzaneen
The infamous Sex House in Tzaneen.

When you drive down Agatha Street from Tzaneen Primary School towards the Whitehouse with the leaky roof and expensive elevator, you will notice two seemingly abandoned houses on your right. Bulletin wrote about these houses a few times in the past five years to understand why these properties were left to ruin by the municipality.

Nothing happened because accountability is about as high up on the political priorities list as honesty and transparency.

Last week we were contacted by a member of the public who had a disturbing encounter at one of these houses, specifically the one on the corner of Agatha and Pienaar Streets. The plaintiff was a concerned mother who, whilst on her way home with her primary school
children, drove past the house and was greeted with a most disturbing sight.

“One of the well-known beggars from town was busy having sex with one of the prostitutes right there in the middle of the veranda in plain sight without any shame. He even smiled and waved at us as we drove past because my children know him very well and always greet him when we pass him in town.”

The words on the walls of this municipal building offers sex for R100 to passersby.

Upon closer inspection of the house, the words “come to bed [for] R100” is visible in paint on the side of one of the walls. But is the building truly abandoned? People are seen inside the building and even outside cleaning the veranda and doing their washing. It’s not clear whether there any connected municipal services such as electricity, running water or most importantly for public health – sewerage, but there certainly are people living there.

The municipality is not saying anything, and neither is the police because apparently no crimes were reported involving the house, the property or any of its dwellers, and the Greater Tzaneen Municipality cannot confirm whether the house is their responsibility to start with.

This is one of the three worrisome sites around the municipality that have just been left to systematically degrade over the years. A few decades ago these were councillors’ houses and the mayor used to occupy the particular one now referred to as the “Sex House”.

Two other troubling sites include the Letaba Boulevard building (the owner of which still reportedly owes the GTM in excess of R26 Million) and the Old MacDonalds Farmstall on the road to Nkowankowa where a murder victim’s body was discovered last week.