A COMMUNITY services and social equity committee meeting recently highlighted the issue of illegal boarding houses.
DA councillor Judith Lawrence said illegal boarding houses are a major problem because in some instances, private school principals are the ones responsible for the illegal establishments.
It is important that boarding houses are inspected for health reasons in terms of town planning regulations, Lawrence said.
Environmental Health manager Jimmy Pather said notices have been issued for the closure of illegal boarding houses
However, he added, soon after the managers and owners are prosecuted, other illegal boarding houses spring up elsewhere.
He said the municipality has asked school principals to ascertain where pupils are boarding so that the council is better able to inspect the establishments and check whether they have permits.
Pather said the department of Education has not been co-operating with the municipality.
There are many hostels in Pietermaritzburg that are can accommodate pupils from illegal boarding houses, Pather added, but the department’s response is that it is not responsible for providing accommodation for the pupils.
The poor conditions at illegal boarding houses have been exposed by The Witness on several occasions in recent years.