Dirt fills the city centre

2017-05-22 14:24
Manholes are filled with rubbish in the city centre. TOP: Beer bottles and rubbish are always strewn across the streets in the lower CBD. BOTTOM:Old tree stumps are not being cleared away on Hoosen Haffajee Street.

Manholes are filled with rubbish in the city centre. TOP: Beer bottles and rubbish are always strewn across the streets in the lower CBD. BOTTOM:Old tree stumps are not being cleared away on Hoosen Haffajee Street. (Supplied)

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Broken pavements, rubbish strewn across the streets, rotten vegetables, broken glass bottles and sewage water flowing on the roads — is this really what parts of the once immaculate city centre have become?

Business people and residents who frequent the area, especially the lower CBD, said they are sometimes in “complete disbelief” at the state the city centre is in.

Witness Warriors received numerous complaints from business owners and residents on the condition of the area.

One of the major concerns is the excessive illegal dumping taking place by businesses and street vagrants.

People making their way to work say they have to walk through rotten vegetables and dirty water to get to shops and offices.

“The smell is unbearable and only the people who own businesses and live around here are to be blamed. They are the ones dumping,” said a shop clerk who walks from the taxi rank to Hoosen Haffajee Street daily.

She said although the roads were not properly cleaned and repaired by the municipality, the onus was upon those “who conscientiously dump and leave the area like that”.

“Will they do that in their own homes and leave it for someone else to clean up? Then why are they doing it here and expect the municipal workers to clean it up?” she asked.

However, although dumping can be controlled by those who do it, there are some wrongs that only the municipality can make right.

Numerous dry tree stumps, vagrants sleeping on the streets, broken street lights and blocked drains are only some of the issues raised.

A businessman whose shop is in Retief Street said he raised the issues on numerous occasions with the municipality but nothing was done to sort the situation out.

“We are now fed up. Our customers cannot even park their cars in the parking bays outside our store because it is so full of rubbish.

“The main parts of town are cleaned and anyone doing a quick drive through the main roads [is] happy with the city but when you come down town, it is a whole other story. The municipality needs to keep all roads as clean as they keep the main roads,” the business owner said.

In March this year, Msunduzi Mayor Themba Njilo visited numerous derelict areas frequented by vagrants.

Following the closure of the notorious beer hall, the whoonga-smoking vagrants­ who used to live there scattered themselves around the CBD, camping in large crowds outside businesses and residents’ homes, openly smoking and trading in whoonga. Residents and business owners are on edge, fearing they could be targeted by the groups of vagrants, many of whom appear high on drugs. They have pleaded for the authorities to intervene.

One resident said she was grateful for Njilo’s efforts but hoped other ward councillors would join him in the fight to make Pietermaritzburg clean again.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  witness warrior

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