Dundee Courier

Dundee residents complain lack of by-laws are impacting on their living standards

She alleges ‘that women of the night also visit to entertain customers’.

Long-time Dundee residents say they are up against a ‘war raged on their property’ on three fronts and place the blame on the lack of the implementation of by-laws.

Rina Burrows and her daughter, Linda Taljaard, (who recently moved back to Dundee from Durban) have lived at 25 Grey Street for over 40 years and say that the situation is now becoming untenable as unkempt and abandoned adjacent properties have seen deterioration in their security and in the general aesthetics in the area.

They have had to spend thousands of Rands to put up concrete walls, install razor wire, palisade fencing and have all assets, such as geysers, secured behind metal cages as intruders (known as ‘paras’ – homeless people who sleep in the adjacent properties and prey on copper pipes and other infrastructure) trespass on to the property which they say endangers them and their tenants who board there.

They have even installed security cameras in a bid to catch the thieves.

Cables were stolen and dumped in a vacant plot on Willson Street

FC Bester of the Endumeni Residents Association in the abandoned vacant plot which residents say is a hide out for criminals

Stolen goods have been recovered in an adjacent vacant land where ‘paras’ have moved in, complete with mattresses and blankets.

“The problem has been going on since around 2019 with these properties not being cleaned and left to the elements. All three are overgrown and on the one erf facing Willson Street, there is an abandoned house where people have moved in and start fires at night and during the day which impacts on us,” Linda said.

She says the roof beams, pipes, and wiring have been removed from the house – ‘even during broad daylight’ – with the thieves seemingly operating with impunity. She alleges ‘that women of the night also visit to entertain customers’.

A fire broke out on the property in 2021 and the fire brigade was called out. A vehicle that was gutted in the blaze is still at the back of the house.

“Attempts to engage or even find out who the responsible people are have largely failed. I have even cut down trees in these neighbouring properties at my own cost but I can no longer do this.”

Taljaard said she had ‘contacted environmental health offices who had promised to come back to her but nothing concrete has happened’.

An infestation of rats invaded her property which saw the electrical wiring destroyed by the rodents.

“We had to replace the wiring at our own cost. We have even taken in cats now in a bid to keep down the rats which are breeding in these overgrown properties.”

Taljaard and her mother feel say the value of their property has been negatively affected as has their own peace of mind.

“We are living in a situation where environmental hygiene is being compromised. We have asked that the by-laws simply be implemented and these adjacent properties cleaned up for the sake of all in the area,” she told the Courier.

It is not only on Grey Street where overgrown properties, which have also become hide outs for ‘paras’. Residents on lower McKenzie Streets and on Beaconsfield Street near the Eventide old age home have also long been complaining about criminals hiding out in neglected properties.

In one incident, a homeowner was broken into three times in two weeks. No one was arrested.

FC Bester of the Endumeni Residents Association said ‘they were appalled by the state of the town and the lack of care’.

“We need to re-instil pride back in our town and we can do this simply by enforcing the by-laws which are there but are not used. The Labour Department insists that businesses follow laws such as health and safety etc. but the health and safety of our residents is now at stake,” he exclaimed.

The Umzinyathi District Municipality has been asked for comment and this will be published once it has been received.

 

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