Buildings crumble in CBD clamp-down

Municipal units that included security and sustainable development members, barricaded West and Pietermaritz streets as three buildings occupied by foreign nationals operating businesses without permits crumbled to the ground. Bystanders and evicted shop owners stood in dismay as buildings fell within minutes.
This comes as the Department of Sustainable Development and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) clamps down on illegal structures and decay in the CBD.
General Manager for Sustainable Development and City Enterprises, Radha Gounden, who was at the scene, said the operation was the fourth part of an on-going campaign to clean-up the city.
“This is a part of an enforcement exercise that has been implemented for the past few months,” said Gounden.
He said eviction notices were handed in advance to those owning and occupying non-compliant structures and businesses.
“In conjunction with Cogta, eviction notices were handed out notifying the occupants that they have not complied with the city by-laws,” said Gounden.
Other stops included a raid on Pietermaritz and Hoosen Haffejee streets that yielded over 20 arrests. Units seized R160 000 in cash that was wrapped in black plastic bags and a towel, 1 200 unregistered SIM cards, and a box of counterfeit cigarettes. A laptop bag containing R40 000 was confiscated from a shop owner who was in possession of counterfeit alcohol.
Home Affairs and South African Revenue Services members accompanied the police and apprehended 25 foreign nationals who were without legal documentation, confirmed Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese.
Foreign nationals affected by the clean-up said they were devastated with their loss.
Muhammad Muhammad from Ethiopia said he felt ambushed by the demolition and now has to rebuild his life.
“I’m just trying to make ends meet. I now need to restart my whole life over,” said Muhammad.
Other bystanders on the scene said they were relieved the City had taken a stance in cleaning up the CBD and encouraged more initiatives.
“It is about time; there are so many other places that need attending to. Masukwana and parts of Church Street need urgent maintenance,” said the bystander.
Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business CEO Melanie Veness welcomed the clean-up.
“The PCB is pleased to see that some action is being taken by the city to enact the by-laws to manage illegal trade in the city centre. Illegal trade has an extremely negative impact on established, legal rate-paying businesses and we hope that there will be a continued and sustained effort to manage this problem,” said Veness.
Msunduzi Municipality Mayor Themba Njilo said the city had been working tirelessly to implement strategic clean-up campaigns and urged citizens not to lose faith in the city’s aim for better service delivery.
Cogta spokesperson, Mluleki Mtungwa, confirmed the demolition was a continuing activity and another phase of a clean-up campaign to get rid of criminal elements in the CBD.
“The demolition is part of a plan to beef-up policing and clean up Pietermaritzburg Central. This area is notorious for numerous illegal activities. As the department headed by MEC Mxolisi Kaunda and Zweli Mkhize, we want to clamp down on counterfeit goods, illegal immigrants, and illegal firearms,” said Mtungwa.
He added the City would continue to be a pilot town for all operations for combating crime. “Pietermaritzburg as the Capital City is being seen as a pilot area for our operations in closing-in on crime on the streets; these operations will occur on a regular basis.”

  AUTHOR
Bongeka Sibisi
Journalist

Latest News

COMMENTS

Top

Thanks for your referral. We have no doubt your friends will love our newsletter as much as you!

Don't forget to verify your email.

to our FREE newsletter
SUBSCRIBE to our FREE newsletter.




SELECT your titles:

Maritzburg Sun
Public Eye


Get regular news updates sent directly to your inbox.

Your source of local breaking news and trending stories from across the country.

Be a part of our growing community

1MILFacebook Fans
98KTwitter Followers
5MILMonthly Readers
12MILArticles Published Every Month
72Local Community Websites
CLICK HERETo view an example of our newsletter

SUBSCRIBE to our FREE newsletter

SELECT your titles:

Maritzburg Sun
Public Eye

Get regular news updates sent directly to you inbox.

Your source of local breaking news and trending stories from across the country.

Be a part of our growing community

Subscribe Here
1MILFacebook Fans
98KTwitter Followers
5MILMonthly Readers
12MILArticles Published Every Month
72Local Community Websites
Your details:


Your friends: