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Tuesday Jan 22, 2013

Illegal dumping: Durban council acts

The non-removal of rubbish bags and illegal dumping continue to plague Durban residents. Angie Govindasamy and Yugan Chetty of Mac-Rites panel beaters alerted us to the dumping at a vacant plot on Roadhouse Crescent, which is just 60m from the Durban Solid Waste (DSW) Riverside garden site.

"In December last year people started dumping their dirt on the vacant property. We then went away on leave and most of the companies in the area were closed. When we returned in January this year it was a disaster. We were shocked at what welcomed us and the smell is nauseating. About four people come every day to dump," Govindasamy said

"After finally being directed to the correct department within the municipality we were given a reference number and told that someone would look into the problem, but they never did," said Govindasamy.

She said that after contacting the Parks and Land Clearance department she was told it would take 12 weeks to remove the rubbish, which consists of glass, tyres, furniture and garden refuse. There are also vagrants that now occupy the land.

Susan Arenhold wrote: "It is absolutely terrible. There used to be a car workshop but that business has vanished and now in its place is illegal dumping. How can the municipality not know about it? It's so close to the river."

Another reader, Chris Greager, said more and more people, particularly contractors and garden service providers, had taken over the site. "There is so much rubbish now dumped on to the 'wall' that it is spilling on to the road. The area now seems to have been accepted as a dumping ground, despite the municipal garden waste centre being next door. It must be a health hazard."

After investigating, CityWatch found that the vacant land in question was once owned by the Haffajee Family Trust and that the building, which was demolished in February last year, was rented by AutoTrix Motorsport.

Vino Naidoo, owner of AutoTrix said: "A sheriff came to us in January last year and told us that the city council wants the building and land. They said that we were due for a flood and that the Umgeni River needed to be canalised. We were basically forced out of the property by February," said Naidoo. "We even pleaded with the council about renting the property from them but they were adamant that their project was urgent. Business at our old premises was good, but now that we have moved we have had to downsize our workshop. Our rent is now double what it was," he said.

Vincent Maphumulo, contract officer for Parks and Land Clearance, said a lengthy process needs to be followed before action can be taken.

"We visited the property after receiving complaints and can confirm people have been dumping there illegally.

"A clean-up will involve different departments within the eThekwini municipality, the roads department, real estate, DSW and the SAPS who will handle the culprits.

"After all these departments have the information they require, we will find a way forward. Meanwhile, we have erected barriers to prevent people from trespassing," he said. Tyne Avenue, said that in June last year, Nundlal Singh had bought a property on Cammanage Road, the street below Ramloutan's property. After he purchased the site, he demolished the house that was on the property and started excavating to build a new home.

When Singh discovered that he had too much shale to dump on his own property, he dumped it instead at the bottom of Ramloutan's land. When confronted by Ramloutan, Singh assured his neighbour that he would remove it within a week, but to date has not done so.

Ramloutan said: "I have contacted him countless times but nothing has been done. He has one excuse after the other."

When CityWatch visited Ramloutan's property, we found that bush had started growing through the rocks that have been dumped on the Ramloutans' back yard.

We then contacted Singh, a property developer who has a very large house in the exclusive Somerset Park estate in Umhlanga.

He alleged that he had a "verbal agreement" with Ramloutan. "Before we excavated the land I had a verbal agreement with their son, Nishal. There wasn't a time frame discussed. They told me that they were not using the land and I could use it.

"I am an upstanding member of the community who does things right. President Jacob Zuma is always saying how housing is a problem in our country and all I am trying to do is help remove that problem by developing a block of residential flats," Singh said.

When asked why he had ignored Ramloutan's efforts to contact him he denied this. "I am in the process of buying the property and we have to wait for the go-ahead from the municipality to approve a sewage system. However, now that I understand that they want the soil off their property I will have it moved by next week," Singh said.

Sunday Tribune

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