Residents fed-up with CBD crime

Abandoned buildings in CBD (West street) housing vagrants

The residents lay the blame on vagrants who have flocked to the area after the demolition of the Ematsheni Beer Hall earlier this year. They say these vagrants have now set up home in abandoned buildings around West Street, Pietermaritz and Hoosen Haffejee Street and are terrorising the residents on a daily basis with serious and petty crime.



Marcus Donaldson who lives on West Street and owns a panel beating shop, told the Maritzburg Sun that his property has been vandalised on several occasions with his panel beating equipment being stolen.

“It affects business badly, customers do not feel safe in the area plus it just puts you on the back foot as a business owner having to constantly spend money on equipment and security,” he said.

Another concerned resident and business owner added, “It is just disappointing that we pay rent but have to constantly live in fear of when they’ll strike”.

Slithelo Nyathi, who lives a few meters away from the house that allegedly houses the vagrants, said  he was assaulted and had his rented room ransacked by vagrants who invaded the property.

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“I do not feel safe. I wish I could move out. All the other tenants are gone because of the constant break-ins,” he said.

SAPS spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said police was aware of the spike in criminal offences within the CBD and urged residents to constantly engage with them in order to combat crime.

Msunduzi municipality, however, confirmed plans to open a rehab facility for vagrants.

City spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the City had formed a task team as part of the clean-up process.

“Various stakeholders and government department representatives have been liaising with the municipality to find a solution that will clean-up the city centre and rescue it from its current deterioration. Proposals at this stage include modifying an already functioning Sevontein Prison in Elandskop into a rehab and youth centre facility,” said Mafumbatha.

Bongeka Sibisi

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