Ricochet News

Bay inner city clean-up kicks off with raid and evictions at Western Road building

By Afikile Lugunya - Feb 12, 2018
Bay inner city clean-up kicks off with raid and evictions at Western Road building

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, and Human Settlements Member of the Mayoral Committee, Cllr Nqaba Bhanga, on Monday visited a previously hijacked building along Western Road, in Central, Port Elizabeth.

The building was reportedly occupied illegally by over 100 people prior to an eviction operation that happened over the weekend.

Mayor Trollip described the living conditions at the building as “horrifying and indescribable”.

“Inner city decay begins with one or two buildings like at 13 Western Road, triggering decentralisation of business and industry. What is left is surging criminality, drug abuse, prostitution and the proliferation of unimaginable social depravity,” he added.

Ahead of the evictions, the municipality’s Metro Police and the SAPS raided the building and apparently removed all criminal elements.

The operation marked the start of the Nelson Mandela Bay’s inner city clean up, articulated by the promulgation of a law to address problem buildings in the City and the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act 16 of 2013 (SPLUMA).

According to Mayor Trollip, the Department of Human Settlement has been assigned to identify more buildings like this, which will eventually be turned into residences for students studying at local Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges and the Nelson Mandela University.

He added that in 2016, there was fire reported at this particular building and the Democratic Alliance (DA) brought blankets to give to the people, who were affected.

“Absolutely nothing has been done up to this day after that fire took place. However, people continue to live here,” he said.

The Mayor also lambasted the previous owner of the building for allowing the building to be unsafe to live in and also allowing criminality to carry on.

“It is time to take back our Metro’s CBD. This coalition government will not allow irresponsible landlords to turn our inner city into a slum,” Trollip said.

“A ‘problem building’ by-law is due to be promulgated by the council in the very near future, which will only strengthen this administration’s capacity to deal with non-compliant and derelict buildings.”

He also said on Tuesday, a joint team from the Office of the COO, Safety & Security, Human Settlements and the Office of the Executive Mayor, will meet to plan future intervention operations.

“We can’t allow our inner city to become a slum and the owner of this building has allowed that to happen.”

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