Residents irate over ‘taxi depot’ in Lotusville

2017-06-15 06:01
Ward councillor Johnson Chetty points to the property that was meant to be a taxi depot in Lotusville. Photo: andile sithole

Ward councillor Johnson Chetty points to the property that was meant to be a taxi depot in Lotusville. Photo: andile sithole

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LOTUSVILLE residents are calling on eThekwini Municipality to give them answers about vacant land that was earmarked to be a taxi depot on the corner of Cassia Memoza at Sun Crescent.

The residents accused the municipality of dragging its feet after a taxi owner, allegedly said to be the owner of the property, fenced it off with concrete palisade, and has left it unattended for two years without consulting with them.

Residents also complained that the overgrown property has become a hideout for criminals.

Salim Razzak (53), a Sun Crescent resident, said his home has been broken into several times.

“The chairs outside my house were stolen recently. I reported the matter to Reaction Unit South Africa. The community is fuming and we demand council to demolish this property immediately.”

Residents signed a petition and lodged a complaint with the head of eThekwini Real Estate three years ago. Another resident said the property is an eyesore.

“I saw unknown people on numerous occasions jumping into the property. We are concerned about the safety of our children because our homes are broken into. My neighbour is a recent victim of a break-in.

“We suspect that criminals use this property to hide in at night before committing house break-ins. None of this has ever happened in our area before.”

Head of Reaction Unit Prem Balram confirmed that there have been cases of house break-ins at Lotusville.

“We had cases of house break-ins and rape in Lotusville recently. We encourage residents to report the cases to the Reaction Unit and police.”

Chairperson of Lotusville Civic Association Sew Jugdeo confirmed that residents took the matter up with the eThekwini Municipality.

“For the past two years, after the matter was reported to the council, nothing has been done about it. The municipality only put road barriers at the entrance of the property so that taxis could not go inside.

“You cannot have a taxi depot in a residential area, the municipality must resolve this matter. We reported it to the ward councillor so that he could investigate further.”

Ward councillor Johnson Chetty said: “The residents signed a petition and lodged a complaint with the head of Real Estate for eThekwini Municipality three years ago.

“A meeting with the head of eThekwini Real Estate Keith Mathias was held to prevent the taxi owner from using the place as his taxi depot. Thereafter the municipality put concrete bollards up to prevent him from operating in it. However, no action was taken to dispossess the owner until this date.

“When I became the ward councillor in August last year, one of the major challenges I was faced with was this issue. What made matters worse was that it was sanctioned by another councillor. I have been interacting with officials from eThekwini Real Estate and indicated that residents are unhappy with the place because it is not maintained and has become a place for criminals.”

Senior manager for eThekwini Real­ Estate Fathima Khan said the property belongs to the municipality.

“Although the site is fenced off, it is not used by anyone. In fact the Land Use Management Department has blocked the entrance to the site with concrete blocks so that no entry is possible.

“We are in the process of selling the property and it will be advertised for public tender.” Attempts to get comment from the alleged former owner were unsuccessful.

 

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