Ethekwini Municipality admits that crime and grime in city not tackled properly
The level of criminal activities remained high in areas such as Albert Park and the beachfront.
These were some of the issues raised by the city’s audit committee for the first and second quarters of the 2019/20 financial year.
The committee said the situation around cleanliness within the city had not improved, and that the city had introduced a number of plans to address the challenges but effective implementation was still lacking, the municipality’s executive committee (Exco) heard yesterday.
In a report tabled at Exco responding to the concerns, the city said 7 097 contravention notices were issued in July to December 2019, while 2352 summonses were issued and 139 rates code changes were initiated in the same period.
Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said walkabouts by council officials had confirmed that the situation around the city was bad.
“We have realised that as much as we are attending to issues, some issues need more attention than others. We have realised that we are not attending to some of our own facilities. Walking around some parts of the city is like walking in some of the small towns,” Kaunda said.
All the councillors noted the report.
Councillor Mdu Nkosi said the IFP appreciated the city’s honesty on the lack of action to deal with issues raised by the committee.
Nkosi said the issue of the buildings, in particular, was known by both the municipality and law enforcement authorities. “The question is, what is the municipality doing to deal with them? Women and children are easy targets to thugs who rob them, assault and maybe even rape them and then disappear into these various dilapidated buildings.
“It’s quite a relief that the acting city manager is following up on concerns raised by the audit committee because these concerns are not new. The issue is that they would be raised and no action taken. It is true that some of these buildings are used for various criminal activities.
“The city could simply revamp some of these buildings and use them to accommodate some of its departments or units instead of paying millions of rand in rental to private landlords for the same purpose.
“Find the landlords of the dilapidated buildings and if you fail, send out notices for a specific period of time indicating that when that period lapses, you undergo court processes to take them over,” Nkosi said.
DA caucus leader Nicole Graham said the city did not correctly enforce problem building by-laws. She felt there were many slum lords who got away with “proverbial murder”.