Edenvale’s homestead behind bars

Edenvale's well known Horwood's Farm Farmhouse in the 1980's.

A devastated ward 18 councillor Heather Hart stares at Horwood’s Farm’s homestead as it lies behind steel mesh.

Surrounded behind a barrier of barbed wire and a fence, Edenvale’s iconic homestead looks less like a heritage site and more like a quarantine zone.

“This is so depressing. I just want to cry. It is heart-wrenching,” said Hart.

Also read: Former resident recalls Horwood’s farm house

Hart said the fence was put up by Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality to prevent further vandalism of the old farmhouse.

The homestead, which has been reported on extensively, has seen a large amount of vandalism over the years.

Over the years the homestead has deteriorated further; light fittings have been taken out, the front door was taken, floorboards are broken and water leaks through the roof.

Since coming into office Hart, along with others, have been dedicated to preserving the farmhouse.

Also read: Farm to be put up for tender

Hart said in 2012 she appealed to the municipality to do something to preserve the homestead.

An emotional Clr Heather Hart (ward 18) standing in front of Horwood’s Farm’s farmhouse. Between Hart and the homestead are a recently installed fence and barbed wire.

She explained that due to financial limitations EMM did not take action.

Hart explained that although she is happy EMM is addressing concerns, a permanent solution must be found.

She is concerned the homestead will be forgotten behind the new fence.

“If something had been done about the homestead back then, it would not be in the states that it is in today,” elaborated Hart.

Besides preventing further vandalism of the building Themba Gadebe, spokesperson of EMM said the fence also prevents free access to the building.

He highlighted the fencing of the property is only a temporary measure.

“The decision to remedy the situation was taken as early as 2010, but the city had to consider suggestions from other stakeholders including the ward councillor of the area. This has led to the delay in implementing the decisions,” explained Gadebe.

Also read: Community members restore Horwood’s Farm.

He said the erection of the fence is part of a plan to restore the building as the property has been identified as a Strategic Land Parcel.

A report regarding the property is awaiting approval from committees of EMM.

Gadebe said if the report is approved the property will be allowed to be leased for development purposes.

Although the fence has been erected, Gadebe said the next step of restoring the homestead will be decided upon by council.

Also read: Ekurhuleni will be forced to repair farmhouse

He said if council approves the report, the property will be restored by a successful tenant.

Although EMM could not confirm what was meant by development purposes Gadebe said an oversight committee meeting was held during the week of July 18 to discuss the homestead property.

Gadebe said depending on the outcome of the meeting, this item could be recommended and be served at a council meeting.

“The city is in constant engagement with local councillors on this property,” said Gadebe.

He said EMM proposals on the property have been shared with the councillors.

If the item is served on the council, recommendations for the homestead will be given.

Gadebe said the proposals will only be made public documents once approved by the oversight committee.

An emotional Clr Heather Hart (ward 18) standing in front of Horwood’s Farm’s farmhouse. In between Hart and the homestead are a recently installed fence and barbed wire.

  AUTHOR
Stephan Lehman

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