City parish under siege

2015-12-01 10:44
Reverend Tracy Bell shows the inside of the abandoned substation that is now being used by vagrants to do drugs and sleep in.

Reverend Tracy Bell shows the inside of the abandoned substation that is now being used by vagrants to do drugs and sleep in. (Kailene Pillay, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - An abandoned substation on the St David’s Church grounds has become a haven for drug users and the parish now wants it demolished.

Reverend Tracy Bell of the St David’s parish in Zwartkop Road, Prestbury, is calling on the municipality to demolish the old building since vagrants have occupied the place.

“The municipality built a new sub-station about a year ago but then in the last six months I have noticed men and women coming in and out of the old building,” said Bell.

She recently went into the old, abandoned building and found mattresses and blankets strewn across the floor.

“Last week, I went in there and found two ladies, almost naked just passed out on the floor. I checked on them and they were alive but they were really drugged,” she said.

The metal door and old wires have been removed from the abandoned building and are suspected to have been sold for scrap.

“There is a regular stream of drug use and from what I have noticed, Whoonga seems to be the drug of choice,” she added.

Although there has not been any damage or theft at the church, Bell says she fears that it will soon begin.

Bell added that she is also worried for the safety and health of the vagrants who regularly take drugs and pass out.

“With this building now becoming a shelter, I have seen an increase in street children and adults in the church yard. We really just want the municipality to demolish the building and help these people,” said Bell.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said the municipality was aware of the problems at the abandoned substation and there are plans to have it removed.

“We are currently transferring the electricity infrastructure from the old substation to the new one. Once the process is complete we will demolish the old substation,” said Madonda.

• kailene.pillay@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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