Drugs the root of Oribi troubles

2015-03-16 00:00

FOLLOWING a Witness report on the crime and social ills in Oribi, it appears the ­desperate cries from Oribi residents for government intervention to help them stop crime in their town, have not fallen on deaf ears.

Residents say they have for too long had to work and live in an area that is plagued by gangs, drug users and drug dealers.

Now the Department of Human ­Settlements, which is in charge of allocating houses in Oribi to people on a waiting list, has said that they are in the process of finding a solution to one of the main ­problems — the on-going housing issue that involves illegal selling of leased ­Oribi homes and even chasing out legal tenants from their homes.

Department spokesperson Mbulelo Baloyi said they were currently in discussions with the Msunduzi Municipality on trying to fix the housing problems in Oribi. He said a first step is to identify the rightful tenants — those who had signed lease agreements with the department.

“The MEC for Human Settlements ­Ravi Pillay has visited the village with Msunduzi mayor Chris Ndlela so as to get a first-hand account of the situation at ­Oribi,” he said.

“In the past, we asked those who know about the illegal selling of houses to ­provide us with an affidavit. Our inland region office did an in-depth ­investigation into the allegations”.

Baloyi said when they discovered a unit is being illegally occupied, sublet or ­invaded they take administrative steps to trace the legal tenant at their given address and request the legal tenant to fix the breach within a period of 30 days.

“Failure to remedy the breach results in the lease agreement of the existing legal tenant cancelled.” He said the future plans for the redevelopment of the village and its transfer to Msunduzi Municipality will help to find a long-term solution to Oribi’s housing problems.

Msunduzi spokesperson Nqobile ­Madonda said the municipality had agreed to take over the Oribi Village, with a view to re-develop the area into a new residential complex.

The historic WW2 suburb came into the spotlight two weeks ago when an elderly couple were stabbed and set alight in their home, allegedly over ownership of the house the couple had been living in for over 17 years.

A resident, who would not be named as she feared for her safety, said drugs and housing were the root of all the problems in Oribi.

Oribi ward councillor Philani Ngidi agreed that the main issues in Oribi ­revolved around “whoonga gangs” and housing. “If we crack down on drug users and sort out the housing issue, then Oribi will be a much better place.”

A police source who could not be named said the Alexandra police station were ­often called out for intimidation, drug abuse, domestic violence and robberies.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

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