B&B brothel outrage

2011-05-27 00:00

A BED-AND-BREAKFAST in central Pietermaritzburg is a haven for prostitutes, who use the rent-by-the-hour rooms to service clients, to the ire of its neighbours.

The area around the facility, in Prince Alfred Street between Retief and Masukwana streets, is mostly occupied by Muslim families. A mosque and several old-age homes line the street.

For the past three months The Witness has been inundated with letters of complaint from residents in lower Prince Alfred Street.

Signs outside label the building as a “B&B” and another reads, “This is strictly a bed & breakfast & spa”, but neighbours say that is not all that goes on there.

The building belongs to a prominent city lawyer who lets it out to the owner of the bed-and-breakfast.

When The Witness called the place yesterday, the person who answered the phone told the journalist that there were no women waiting for clients inside the building.

“However, I can organise you a lady on the street who can wait for you inside the building. We charge R40 an hour and R200 for the whole night. You bring your own food as we do not provide breakfast,” said the employee.

Neighbours say scores of prostitutes loiter around the B&B. “It is disgusting to note the number of ‘customers’ who are so unfaithful to their partners and who visit this place,” said one resident.

Another resident said the prostitutes have become a menace and are a threat to the nearby old-age homes.

“Our neighbours from the old-age homes can no longer take their afternoon walk as they are being robbed by prostitutes and undesirable customers of the B&B.

“How are we expected to bring up our children and grandchildren when they are being exposed to prostitution when they walk out of their front door? Each time I open my window I am forced to look into a brothel,” said the resident.

Another concerned resident, Abdullah Is-haaq, said, “Brothels are illegal according to law. The B&B, which is situated in a special residential area, operates as a brothel with impunity.

“The prostitutes sit on the pavement and lure immoral men with their half-clad bodies. The neighbour alongside the [B&B] is irate because the prostitutes show their bodies, and pull down their pants for his visitors,” said Is-haaq.

Victoria Memorial Home matron Moira Sharon Wiles said her elderly residents complain about the noise prostitutes make at night.

“If it is a B&B, how come they have an hourly rental? Their gate does not stop opening and closing. The girls sit on the pavement to wait for their clients and take them into the house,” said Wiles.

She said prostitutes throw used condoms, tissues and empty bottles into the yard of the old-age home.

The owner of the building, who cannot be named, denied knowing about the ins and outs at his property.

“As far as I’m concerned I let it out to her [the B&B owner]. She wanted to open a B&B and the municipality granted her the authority to use the building as a B&B. All I need from her is my rental every month,” said the lawyer.

The owner of the business said she is not aware that there are prostitutes among her clients. The hourly booking is for guests who want to “freshen up” when they come to town, she said.

“I don’t ask women who come into the B&B if they are prostitutes. Those whom I know are street workers we tell to keep a distance from our bed-and-breakfast.

“Those elderly people [at the old-age home] have been dealing with these women for years, and now that I run a bed-and-breakfast they blame me. There are lots of other B&Bs in that area,” she said.

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma said the municipality will investigate whether the licence conditions have been violated.

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