WATCH | eThekwini municipality tears down dilapidated buildings

26 July 2019 - 16:50 By Lwandile Bhengu
Msizi Hlongwa watches as an excavator starts to demolish the building he has been living in for the past three years in Durban's notorious Point precinct. The demolition is part of an inner city regeneration project.
Msizi Hlongwa watches as an excavator starts to demolish the building he has been living in for the past three years in Durban's notorious Point precinct. The demolition is part of an inner city regeneration project.
Image: JACKIE CLAUSEN

Msizi Hlongwa, 23, watched helplessly on Friday as an excavator tore into a dilapidated building he once called home.

He and about 30 other vagrants were removed from the building in Durban's Point Road precinct as part of the eThekwini municipality's multimillion-rand plan to rejuvenate the crime-ridden area.

"With this place gone, we are thinking of going back to the shelters. Even though we don't have money, we will try to put things together by collecting cans and recycling them for money," said Hlongwa.

Hlongwa occupied the building three years ago after he was asked to leave his home in KwaMashu's K section because of a family dispute.

The building is one of 99 buildings around the city that the municipality has flagged as needing to be demolished or refurbished. About 10 buildings have been earmarked for demolition while the rest need to be refurbished.

Acting eThekwini mayor Fawzia Peer told journalists at one of the demolition sites that the delay in the process of fixing the Point precinct was due to the unwillingness of property owners to come forward.

"The property owners are not coming on board. There are lots of property owners who we cannot find and, in so doing, these buildings become derelict and the crime and grime are also getting worse," said Peer.

"We are not going to take nonsense from property owners who don't want to come on board," she added.

Deputy municipal city manager Philip Sithole said that they were currently engaged in a legal process to get the buildings on their demolition list demolished and that some property owners would be in for a surprise.

"Some of the buildings will be demolished and then we will ask the property owner what they intend on doing with the piece of land, and if we are not happy with the type of development, then we will have to indicate that to the property owner. Some property owners will be invoiced because the state of some of the buildings is due to their failures," said Sithole.

The municipality said they would have social programmes for those who, like Hlongwa,  might find themselves displaced but did not spell out what those programmes entailed.


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