Raisethorpe residents desperate over informal settlement problems

2018-02-07 13:34
Live wires stick out of a light pole on Privet Road, Raisethorpe. Residents of a nearby squatter camp are alleged to be stealing electricity from light poles on that road.

Live wires stick out of a light pole on Privet Road, Raisethorpe. Residents of a nearby squatter camp are alleged to be stealing electricity from light poles on that road. (Supplied)

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Raisethorpe residents on Tuesday implored Mountain Rise police to help them deal with the many serious concerns they have raised about an informal settlement on Privet Road.

They say they live in fear and raised allegations of drug abuse, crime, unruly behaviour, weapons and prostitution at the settlement.

Police, local councillors and community members at a meeting at Mountain Rise station on Tuesday agreed that action was needed before the problem escalated.

Police spokesperson Captain Gay Ebrahim said police will conduct observations of the area and look to “profile” the area.

She said police would also hold a meeting with the Msunduzi Municipality to address municipal-related complaints like the perennial issue of illegal connections at the settlement.

The Witness reported recently that dwellers from the settlement were allegedly stealing electricity from light poles on Privet Road.

Residents alleged that brazen thieves steal electricity in broad daylight.

Residents who had lived there for more than 50 years are now trying to sell their houses, so serious are the problems.

The areas affected, residents said, are from Bhayat Road to Chota Motala Road, with the worst affected roads being Privet Road, Sirkhod Road and Vijay Place.

Residents and their ward councillor Renisha Jugmohan, yesterday bemoaned two previous meetings held last year with the police which yielded no positive outcomes.

In November, an e-mail detailing their complaints was sent to the Mountain Rise top brass but was never responded to, they said.

Residents told officers that they experienced a lack of service delivery from the station’s police. “Recently I called 10111 and was referred to Mountain Rise. An officer here told me there were no vehicles to send out,” a resident said.

“We have established a committee to take photos of cop cars parked off where they shouldn’t be in the area because they shouldn’t behave like that.”

Another resident said the problem has become so severe, that school pupils were said to be seen openly smoking dagga in school uniform near the settlement.

He added that residents feared the settlement was a haven for prostitution.

“We see really fancy cars parked here and see girls walking into the settlement. Then they walk out an hour later,” he said.

Jugmohan even claimed residents of the settlement had reached out to her, saying they were scared to live there. “They said they would be willing to speak to the police,” she said.

Ebrahim would not disclose details of the police’s impending actions, but said: “In the interim, we want to increase the visibility of [police] vehicles. We will also look to increase the foot-beat in the area to act as a deterrent until a full operation is launched.”

She asked that residents report claims of poor service to police.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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