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Monday Oct 27, 2014

Abandoned properties raise concern in Durban

The issue of abandoned houses in eThekwini is a growing concern as it gives squatters, drug addicts and prostitutes an opportunity to claim the properties.

An example is 25 Essem Park Road in Parlock. The abandoned house has been invaded by drug addicts and criminals.

The dilapidated property, with broken windows and doors, is surrounded by overgrown grass. It is an eyesore among the other well maintained houses on the street.

Ward councillor Deochand Ganesh says he has spoken to the owner of the property, Ajay Hansraj, twice about the problem.

"I first spoke to him six months ago and he said he had submitted plans to council to rebuild. I called him a few weeks ago because no action had been taken, and he said plans are still going ahead. He refuses to sell the land, saying he wants to build on it. The abandoned house is causing a big problem in the community."

Ganesh said drug addicts assemble there at night, as well as prostitutes who operate from the abandoned property.

"Neighbours are understandably concerned about the decreasing value of their properties. I have taken this issue to council and they keep saying they are attending to the matter, but no action is being taken.

"There are hundreds of them in various neighbourhoods. As the ward councillor I will keep on this issue and will again report the matter to the municipality," he said.

When contacted by City Watch, Hansraj said he had plans to build on the land early next year.

"I am renewing my plans with the municipality. I was going to build on the property when I lost my business, which delayed the process. But I know what I have to do."

He said this was a private issue taken to the media by nasty neighbours.

"It is not a health hazard and there are worse things happening in the city."

However, eThekwini head of communications, Tozi Mthethwa, said building plans have not been submitted for consideration of approval by the municipality.

"Notices will be issued for remedial work to be undertaken if the building is considered to be structurally unsound and dangerous for human habitation in terms of Section 12 of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act," she said.

"Social ills will be addressed and resolved by law enforcement authorities."

City Watch
Sunday Tribune


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