LITTER strewn on the pavement and vehicles parking on Voortrekker Street caused a stir in the community recently as residents accused the owner of F M A Distributors [Hardware], Essop Kharodia, of turning the CBD into an eyesore.
Residents also complained about broken tiles and refuse that is dumped on the pavement while others claimed that vehicles loading goods from the hardware store park in the centre of the road.
A resident who wished to remain anonymous said he had to walk in the centre of the road to avoid litter that had been dumped on the pavement in front of the business.
“Pedestrians are unable to walk on the pavement and there is rubbish from the business on the pavement that is blocking storm water [drains]. Also, there is an illegal connection to the light pole.
“Is the business receiving a favour from the municipality? We need our pavement to be clean,” he said.
Speaking on the matter, Kharodia said: “I have a 25-meter loading zone. We try to ensure that our customers are parked in the loading zone, allowing the two lanes going up towards Bell Street to remain free. As you know, there is a post office across [from] my business and many people tend to park in my loading zone to go to the post office.
“The broken tiles and refuse are removed every morning and the street is swept. There are no [refuse] bins.
“Regarding the electric cable on the road, it would be best if you speak to the municipality’s electricity department. They have bypassed this cable because it must be put underground after the new building is constructed. It has already been going on for two years; you can see the tar that has been dug out.
“As for my water connection, three years ago I paid R23 000 so that the water department could connect to my fire reels and, despite the countless times I have contacted them, it still hasn’t been done.
“My attorney asked me to take legal action against the municipality.
“You are not aware of the plans that have been passed by all departments of the municipality. These plans took over a year to be approved. After I commenced construction and completed approximately 60% [of the work], the owner of the business next to mine took out a court order to cease all building. We then went to the high court, where the judge’s ruling was to settle this matter in our offices. Their attorneys assured me that we would have a meeting to resolve this issue but, unfortunately, I am still waiting. Subsequently, I cooperated with the new building inspector and even appointed a different architect to draw [up] new plans at a cost of R65 000. The architect has had several meetings with the building department but has not received approval. This has been [going on] for the past two years and each time [I enquire] they promise that the plans will be approved shortly. “According to the new plans, all loading will be done in the premises and not on the street. Due to this delay, we are forced to load on the street where our goods are stolen. “This whole process has been tedious. I would like nothing more than to work together with the relevant bodies in order to get past this setback,” ended the owner.
uMvoti Municipality spokesperson Phindile Phungula said: “There are indeed talks between the municipality and the owner of the hardware store through their attorneys, Nel and Stevens. The talks relate to numerous issues, such as building and town plan issues.
“We are hoping to reach an amicable decision in the near future.”