Liberties of Che street

2013-09-04 00:00

WITH brothels and prostitutes plying their trade at the lower end of Che Guevara Street (Moore Road), it would seem the sex trade has elevated the street to ecstatic levels of liberation.

But Glenwood residents are not taking it lying down, even though the police claim there is very little they can do about the situation.

One house had a stream of “clients” through the door, while prostitutes openly spilled over on to Frere Road, just 100 metres from the upmarket Davenport Square, a resident said.

While the smell of faeces and urine are commonplace on the street, business owner Graeme Kerr said that with prostitution come vagrants and crime.

“It has been going on for far too long. We simply cannot keep on operating like this,” said Kerr.

He pointed out several flats where “known prostitutes” are believed to live, although this could not be independently verified. “Despite the women being unattractive, they seem to pull in the customers on a daily basis. Driveways, narrow side streets and any dark corner becomes their office,” said Kerr.

Captain Kephu Ndlovu, police spokesperson for central Durban and surrounds, said while the police do arrest prostitutes they need to be careful how they deal with the matter.

“We can’t simply arrest people without proving beyond a reasonable doubt that they are indeed prostitutes. We must be careful and follow procedures. Even if the people on the road are alleged prostitutes, they too have rights that need to be respected. We cannot simply round people up,” said Ndlovu.

Homeowner Keith Dickson, who is currently out of the province, said he has had “countless” problems with the leasing of his property in the road.

“Finding good tenants in that area has become very tricky and trying to get rid of them [the bad ones] is equally exhausting. The entire area has just degenerated, and sadly [I] do not see it improving unless the police and council take action,” said Dickson.

He said the problem with trying to evict unsavoury elements from the property is that it usually requires an expensive legal process.

“And if you try to evict, there is a good possibility your house will be damaged,” said Dickson.

But prostitution seems to be widespread throughout the city, with the Durban Magistrate’s Court having heard this week that the Down Town Lodge and the Inn Town Lodge in the Point area were used as escort centres.

The hotels’ owner Dr Genchen Rugnath, his wife Ravina, and three other people are accused of human trafficking and of keeping a brothel where children as young as 12 were kept.

All five have pleaded not guilty to 156 charges, including assault, rape, sexual exploitation of a child, and racketeering.

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