Residents want clinic and sport facilities, not a Sai spiritual centre

2015-09-22 12:07
Panorama Gardens residents protesting on Naven Boulevard yesterday.

Panorama Gardens residents protesting on Naven Boulevard yesterday. (Amil Umraw )

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

PANORAMA Gardens residents have said a proposed “Hindu Church” is not welcome in their suburb.

Residents said the religious facility is unnecessary in the predominantly Zulu-speaking area and other facilities like sports and recreational activities should take priority.

The residents, who took to the streets yesterday morning, have said that a proposed “Sai Centre” to be built in the neighbourhood is not welcome.

However, developer Dev Chetty said that an industrial complex was to be built on the site, on the corner of ­Birmingham Road and Naven ­Boulevard, with a spiritual centre to be incorporated as an addition.

There would be a 40 000m² ­commercial component, 32 business sites of 2 500m² each, and a 2 500m² ­religious site.

Chetty said there had been consultation with the community during the environmental impact assessment process, and there had been no ­objection to the development then.

He suspected the objection and ­protests were being driven by people currently living on the land.

Chetty said the religious centre would be a non-denominational ­facility run by the Sathya Sai ­organisation. It would offer free ­medical care, soup kitchens and facilities for the youth, all of which would benefit the local community. The mob, made up mostly of women, took bricks to be used for the centre’s boundary wall and scattered them across Naven Boulevard, along with large logs and sticks, which they then set alight.

Members of the Public Order ­Policing unit, Mountain Rise police and traffic officers arrived at the scene around 5 am to find the group dancing and singing on the road.

As traffic started to build, motorists were denied entry to the residential area, with school-goers from Panorama Primary School made to walk about a kilometre from their taxis, which dropped them off on Birmingham Road.

A community leader greeted the rowdy group after 7 am, negotiating with the angry residents before they were asked to disperse.

One resident, who asked not to be named, said one of their grievances is that vacant land in the area was sold without consulting the community.

“We do not have any facilities for the youth or any that create employment opportunities. There are no clinics or sports facilities and our youngsters end up on the street corners, smoking.

“There is no space here for a Hindu church,” the resident said.

Besides the religious organisation, residents said they paid “far too much” for rates, with bills of between R2 500 to R3 000 per month

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  protest

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.