Durbs’ empty promise

2014-01-27 00:00

DESERTED beachfront properties that the city council promised would be “fully operational” by the festive season, are having to be guarded to stop vagrants occupying them.

The empty Durban beachfront restaurants were part of the R300 million beachfront upgrade project that coincided with the 2010 World Cup, but some still remain empty.

The city has been forced to pay around R64 000 each month to maintain and guard the facilities.

The leases for some premises were signed in November, but they remain unoccupied.

Private security guards have been stationed outside unoccupied properties along the beachfront. One restaurant building is cordoned off to stop people from sitting on the wooden floors.

DA caucus leader Zwakele Mncwango said, “I do not understand why these restaurants remain unoccupied. If the city is serious about the economy, these restaurants should have been occupied a long time ago.”

The monthly rent for these premises range from R26 700 for floor space of 297 m2 to R67 188 for properties with floor space of 537 m2, while kiosks attract rent of between R1 000 and R6 200 a month.

The biggest of the vacant restaurant sites on the beachfront was secured by businessperson and chairperson of the KZN tourism board Sadha Naidoo, who owns Calypso Group.

The city was mum about developments on the beachfront, with municipal spokesperson Thabo Mofokeng saying five premises were leased last year. He said two kiosks were opened during the festive season.

“Three restaurants are expected to be opened sometime in March. Four are reserved for tour operators and I believe one more is still to be leased once processes are finalised.”

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