PMB’s red light district

2015-12-31 10:30
The red-brick road around the City Hall.

The red-brick road around the City Hall. (Jonathan Burton)

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Pietermaritzburg - Prostitution in the heart of the city is thriving with sex workers using private property, pavements and even driveways to service their clients.

And among their favourite places, allegedly at times in full view of passers-by and children, are a creche and an old age home in Prince Alfred Street, with residents claiming they often find used condoms littering the neighbourhood.

Mariana Bothman, manager of the The Suid-Afrikaanse Vrouefederasie (South African Women’s Federation) old age home in Prince Alfred Street, said the pavement in front of their property was used as a “sex spot” with used condoms often left on the road.

“A local security company which has an office nearby has been helping us chase the prostitutes away. We have had some success with the women moving further along the road, but they are still in the neighbourhood soliciting clients,” said Bothman.

Area resident Frank Lorentz said he assists local security guards and has been exposed to “appalling things on many occasions”.

“One morning I saw a young lady running naked along the street from one of the properties close to us.

“We later learnt that a man who she was sleeping with took her takings from the night before. He took her clothes as well. From what we can gather they were having sex on a private property’s lawn,” said Lorentz.

Lorentz also said a crèche in their street was also used as a “sex property”.

“They leave behind used condoms at the creche. What will happen when the children find such things in the garden? They will get infections,” he said.

A resident of Bulwer Street across from Longmarket Girls’ School said she has experienced similar problems.

A resident who did not want to be named said they also use their driveway to do “their business”.

“Our biggest worry is our children will be exposed to such things, sometimes when we wake in the morning we find condoms on our driveway.

“They has turned this area into a bad environment to raise children,” said the resident.

DA ward 33 councillor Naleni Atwaru said prostitution has become a problem and was not only confined to Prince Alfred Street but occurs around city.

“It is not the first time I have heard such. I always raise this issues at our [ward and council] meetings,” she said.

Atwaru urged community members to create a WhatsApp group to communicate the movements of the sex workers in order to help deter them from operating in the area.

“I was also informed that at the Manor grounds prostitutes who live there engage in sexual activities in front of residents and their children. This is indecent public behaviour and needs to be addressed with a plan of action,” she said.

However, when The Witness went out to the streets hoping to talk to the alleged prostitutes in Prince Alfred Street they refused to speak to the reporter unless they were paid.

“When people come here to talk to us we ask them for money. We are running a business here and we are trying to make money. So we won’t talk unless you pay R30 in exchange for information,” said one woman.

Msunduzi Municipality ­spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said, “The municipality has a responsibility to uphold the by-laws of the council. Prostitution and the management thereof is not in the sphere of the municipality, it is that of the police.”

She said the municipality could only offer their partnership to deal with the issue.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  prostitution

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