Florida Road makes a clean sweep for drugs

2014-03-14 00:00

A CLEAN sweep by businesses on Florida Road hopes to rid the popular revelling street of drug peddlers, dodgy car guards and grime as they ramp up their efforts to make the area clean and safe.

The Berea mixed-use street has implemented an Urban Improvement Precinct (UIP) programme, which sees property and business owners come together to fund extra services such as cleaning, greening and added security.

The UIP structure is approved by the eThekwini Metro and forms an integral part of the city’s Clean My City Campaign, which focuses on urban renewal.

On Tuesday, the Florida Road UIP patrol team, in conjunction with the SAPS, used sniffer dogs to sweep for hidden drugs and drug dealers.

Florida Road UIP manager Gray Braatvedt said the operation, expected to be the first of many, was to reinforce the fact that the street is under the management of a UIP and as such illegal activity will not be tolerated.

“In urban decay you have all sorts of contravention of by-laws. Florida Road has a history of this and we want to change this perception,” said Braatvedt.

He said 22 straws of dagga were confiscated and a number of potential drug storage areas were identified.

“We have also moved to organise the car guard structures. They are now registered, identifiable and accountable for their areas but they are not paid and still rely on tips for an income. While this provides a better organised environment for the visitor, it also provides protection for the car guard as he cannot simply be bullied off a lot by gangs wanting to control a section of road,” said Braatvedt.

He said the precinct is also working closely with NGOs and the city council on how best to cope with the homeless.

“We have identified that simply shifting or relocating these vulnerable people does not provide a solution to the problem. We are working with the city and NGOs to assist them and provide rehabilitation and support. This will be a long and difficult task but if it solves the problem it will be worth it,” said Braatvedt.

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