Sex, drugs and fights on Florida Road

2009-11-21 00:00

LOUD music, fist fights, public drinking and sexual activities are making living on Durban’s famous Florida Road a nightmare.

Every weekend, Florida Road in the plush Morningside area where nightclubs, restaurants and coffee bars operate, becomes a “wild party zone”, but angry residents say enough is enough. They have now started a petition against the nightclubs in the area.

Last weekend, Metro Police conducted a random raid, closing down La Sol, Reform, Casa Nostra, Element and Thunder Road nightclubs, which were trading in contravention of their licences.

While this was a good start, residents felt noise levels, drunken debauchery and traffic would increase as the festive season approached.

Mark Stephens, spokesman for the Florida Road Residents’ and Property Owners’ Association, said drunken revellers asked to leave the clubs usually end up on the street.

Loud music is played, cars are turned into bars and others are raced up and down the street.

“These people are usually intoxicated and start fist fights on the street,” he said.

Stephens said traffic is another issue that affects residents. Cars double park, speed and also block driveways to houses and blocks of flats.

“We have had so many accidents due to high volume of traffic. They park their cars anywhere they want and this causes chaos,” he said.

He said residents have raised these concerns with the municipality for three years and want to know how the club licences were issued without consultation with residents.

“The restaurants are fine. The night clubs are the problem, we don’t get any sleep. When we ask them to turn the music down, people become abusive,” he added.

DA councillor Avrille Coen said residents are exposed to loud music, vulgar language and hooting until the early hours of the morning.

Drug pedlars are also a common sight on the street.

Coen said one resident found a dagga stash near the entrance of his home.

“A car guard was selling dagga joints to people. The resident found a packet of rolled up cigarettes on his property,” she said.

She said residents do not want the street to close down as it is a great tourist attraction for the city, however, she felt that nightclubs need to comply with city bylaws.

Brett van Rooyen, chairman of the Berea Community Forum, said criminal activities increase on nights when the clubs are open for business.

He said Florida Road needs more visible policing to clamp down on criminals and speedsters.

The municipality’s licensing department will conduct more raids soon.

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