Power substation becomes home to prostitutes

2015-11-04 06:00
 Photo: DARSHAN RANGAIThe power substation on the corner of Wick and Todd Streets with new locks on.

Photo: DARSHAN RANGAIThe power substation on the corner of Wick and Todd Streets with new locks on.

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DRUGS, alcohol consumption, prostitution, public defecation and urination have overtaken an electricity substation in the Verulam CBD after a group of prostitutes, which include minors, have taken occupancy inside.

The nefarious activities have made businesses in the area, their clients and residents frustrated as the presence of this group is believed to be attracting criminal activity.

Verulam SAPS communications officer Warrant Officer Mark Prakasim said police have been working hard to rid the area of these women and their clients, but it is hard to hold a person for long for prostitution.

“Prostitutes are using the place with their clients. We have made several arrests for prostitution and drugs like heroine and dagga,” said Prakasim.

Businesses in the area are growing impatient for the group to be permanently removed from the area as the prostitutes are harassing their customers.

The business owners, who wish to remain anonymous for fear of victimisation, say that on several occasions their customers have been verbally abused and threatened.

This has occurred when they were approached by the prostitutes and refused to take them up on their offer of “sex for a fee”.

“We had a customer who was going to his car and he refused one of these girls. She got aggressive with him and started swearing.
“When he got into his car she picked up a brick and started chasing after his car,” said an employee of a business nearby the substation.

The group consists of around six girls aged between 14-20 who are living near the power substation. They are keeping their clothes, food, drugs and other personal belongings inside the substation.

During the day they go to nearby roads to attract customers who they bring back to the substation to have sex, take drugs and consume alcohol.

Another employee of a nearby business said fights are constantly taking place among the prostitutes and their clients.

They said the area has been degraded because of their unhygienic behaviour while their overall presence and activities have polluted the area.

“We had no problems of crime or illegal activities here, but since [the prostitutes] have come into the area, there were two business break-ins, there are drugs and alcohol being consumed freely and we are tired of it.

“We know police are making arrests, but they keep coming back,” said the employee.

She said businesses in the area have contacted all authorities to report the matter, but because the substation isn’t secure the prostitutes keep returning.

“We have contacted the electricity department a number of times to secure the substation, but nothing is happening.

“The electricity department is not interested, but we are being affected,” she said.

Councillor Arunajallam Chellappen said: “Together with the CPF in Verulam we are dealing with the matter.”

eThekwini Head of Communications, Tozi Mthethwa said inspectors from the electricity department have been sent to investigate the substation and allegations of people taking up residency within.

“The substation was secured by replacing the locks to restrict unauthorised access to the substation. The relevant unit has been tasked to install a pepper gas system as a deterrent and to prevent unauthorised access,” said Mthethwa.

Prakasim said an issue at present is that the locks were being broken, but all relevant authorities are working on a solution.

“We are also urging people to bring forward information on such activities so we can deal with it,” said Prakasim.

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