Mayor prom­ises crack­down

Bull­doz­ers com­ing for il­le­gal and ne­glected build­ings in the city

The Witness - - FRONT PAGE - SABELO NSELE • sabelo.nsele@wit­ness.co.za

MSUN­DUZI Mu­nic­i­pal­ity has vowed to bring in the bull­doz­ers to flat­ten all il­le­gal build­ings in the city, as it launches a crack­down on filth and de­cay.

These in­clude broth­els and il­le­gal tav­erns that are openly op­er­at­ing in the CBD.

The city said on Fri­day it will be go­ing af­ter all build­ings that have been ne­glected by the own­ers and that these will either be closed down, de­mol­ished or taken over by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

This emerged when the city launched a clean­up cam­paign in the “City of Choice” aimed at ad­dress­ing re­cent com­plaints by the pub­lic and busi­nesses over lit­ter, whoonga ad­dicts, high crime and gen­eral “in­ner city de­cay”.

A team led by Mayor Themba Njilo and act­ing city man­ager Dr Ray Ngcobo on Fri­day in­spected build­ings in Lan­gal­ibalele and Tim­ber streets that have been il­le­gally ex­tended to ac­com­mo­date spaza shops and sa­lons.

The del­e­ga­tion de­scribed these build­ings as an “ac­ci­dent wait­ing to hap­pen”.

The il­le­gally erected struc­tures were still in use at the time of the del­e­ga­tion’s visit as sa­lons and spaza shops.

Most had ob­vi­ous il­le­gal elec­tric­ity con­nec­tions and live wires could be seen ly­ing around.

On Fri­day the city gave a “fi­nal warn­ing” to the oc­cu­pants of these shops, say­ing they will bull­doze the struc­tures when the team next re­turns.

In some in­stances il­le­gal struc­tures were block­ing fire en­gine ac­cess points.

In one build­ing, an il­le­gally erected struc­ture had blocked ac­cess to an elec­tric­ity meter and main switch.

“Next time we come here, we will de­mol­ish all of these struc­tures,” warned Njilo.

He said the city would also be de­mol­ish­ing some build­ings that have been ne­glected by their own­ers.

“The city has a de­mo­li­tion or­der from court for all those prob­lem­atic build­ings [that are] il­le­gally oc­cu­pied and ne­glected by own­ers.

“Many build­ings have be­come broth­els, where crime is rife.

“They are places be­ing oc­cu­pied for dodgy busi­ness ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing liquor stores in ar­eas near im­por­tant city struc­tures like the Leg­is­la­ture.

“This is a re­sult of lack of build­ings by­laws en­force­ment.

“In turn these ar­eas have be­come health haz­ards and con­trib­ute to in­creased crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties,” said Njilo.

“The CBD lo­cal area plan will be de­vel­oped to pro­file all build­ings with ab­sent own­ers and land­lords and such build­ings will be closed down, de­mol­ished or taken over by mu­nic­i­pal­ity or even charged.

“These build­ings are over­crowded and ne­glected in terms of main­te­nance,” he said.

Njilo added that rates were not be­ing paid, re­sult­ing in the ter­mi­na­tion of ser­vices like garbage col­lec­tion, and un­paid bills that re­sulted in elec­tric­ity theft, which puts peo­ple’s lives in dan­ger.

The mayor said the city will also be clos­ing down the East Street old beer hall next to the hos­tel to ex­tend the taxi rank.

It pre­vi­ously closed the eMat­sheni beer hall in Retief street.

The city was coy about how it would deal with an­other pos­si­ble in­flux of va­grants, say­ing the city “has a plan” for how it will deal with the va­grants.

Njilo said there would be more law en­force­ment in fu­ture in town.

“The lack of by­law en­force­ment has con­trib­uted in the emerg­ing of many in­for­mal street traders, va­grants oc­cu­py­ing the city, which has cre­ated filth and ad­versely af­fected busi­ness and tourism in­dus­tries.”

The mu­nic­i­pal man­ager had met with all the peace of­fi­cers to en­cour­age them to be more vis­i­ble and ef­fi­cient.

More en­gage­ments of that na­ture will be done to en­sure that the city’s peace of­fi­cers work to­gether.

Msun­duzi Mu­nic­i­pal­ity would also ad­dress waste man­age­ment is­sues, for ex­am­ple by in­stalling more rub­bish bins in the CBD.

“The shift sys­tem is be­ing re­vived in or­der for it to func­tion op­ti­mally, as the as­sess­ment re­vealed that our staff are knock­ing off at peak times, which cre­ates an im­pres­sion that the city is not be­ing cleaned.

“We will ac­cord­ingly en­sure the city is kept clean at all times and also im­prove ef­fi­ciency of staff mem­bers as well as tools of trade,” he said.

PHOTO: SABELO NSELE

Msun­duzi Mayor Themba Njilo (cen­tre) and Exco mem­ber Sphamandla Khu­malo walk about in Tim­ber Street where city of­fi­cials dis­cov­ered many build­ings had been il­le­gally ex­tended.

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