Derelict buildings and rubbish plague Verulam community

Trash has accumulated near the ABC Centre on the corner of Ireland Street and George Sewpersad Road in Verulam.

Dilapidated vacant buildings which have turned into hideouts for criminals and a pungent stench emanating from an illegal dumping site at the corner of Ireland Street and George Sewpersad Road are some of the most frustrating issues that Verulam residents and hawkers have to bear with.

One of the vacant buildings is situated across the town’s busy taxi rank while the dump site is just a stone throw away.

When the Tongaat and Verulam Sun visited the area on Friday, chunks of litter near the ABC Centre were still piling up and according to hawkers, the refuse has been lying there for months, despite numerous complaints being lodged with Durban Solid Waste. Samanatha Moodley who works in the nearby food outlet claimed that the dump site was last cleared about four months ago.

“It is disgusting that we have to work near a place covered with  rubbish. The smell is terrible and on sweltering hot days, it becomes even worse. The area has also turned into a breeding ground for rodents and flies,” said Moodley.

Hawkers who sell food, fruits and vegetable in the proximity of the rank claim that eThekwini Municipality is not doing enough to clean up the town. Nonsindiso Mweli who hails from Waterloo said the filthy environment has made it hard for them to conduct their business and that their regular clients have steered clear from the area, complaining about the filth.

She accused the municipality of being quick to enforce by-laws on defaulting individuals, but not doing their jobs. A pensioner and a businessman, Ronald Chetty, said the municipality should be held responsible for the deteriorating state of the town.

“Verulam has turned into a messy and filthy town and nothing seems to be getting done on time by municipal workers. When there is a burst pipe, they take their own time to respond to the complaint.”

A group of taxi drivers told journalists that they have on numerous occasions witnessed whoonga addicts occupying the vacant building and conducting their criminal activities, in order to feed their habit. DA ward councillor, Johnson Chetty, said he has been putting pressure on DSW to collect the rubbish for the past two months. “I have sent pictures and submitted a list of affected areas to DSW and all I receive was a promise that it would be collected soon,” he said.

With regards to the abandoned building on Ireland Street, Cllr Chetty said that he is still engaging with the owners to see how the building can be utilised again.

Mbali Khubisa

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