Durban - Rubber bullets and the presence of the police, community policing forum and private security have not been enough to deter vagrants from stripping former police flats Excelsior Court.
The Daily News had gone to Excelsior Court on Wednesday morning and saw a few vagrants in the building.
Constant hammering could also be heard from the driveway.
Various items, including washing baskets, a fridge, clothing, shoes and a motorbike, were lying along the driveway.
Some of the garages were open.
A vagrant emerged, pulling a green bin and filling it with items from the driveway.
There was also an unbearable stench that filled the air.
Neighbour Brian Robb said all they could hear was “bashing and crashing” as vagrants stripped the building of everything they could sell.
“It’s hell at the moment,” he said.
“There’s just chaos going on there.”
Robb said he had been involved with Excelsior Court for about 15 years now, and this time around, he was staying out of it.
He said all the windows were broken, water was running out of a broken pipe for years, rats were running around, there is rubbish along the driveway, it stinks, and chunks of brick have fallen off the building.
“The building has just been left to rot,” Robb said.
He said there was a time when a clean-up of the building was done, but soon it was back to what it was before the clean-up.
“Hundreds of vagrants are now stripping the building of everything. It sounds like we’re living next to a construction site,” Robb said.
He said, on Wednesday, he saw a vagrant drag a fridge down the road.
He said they are chased away with rubber bullets but return soon. They strip the building even through the night.
A source who has been to the building said law enforcement, including Mayville SAPS and private security, returned to the building on Tuesday night and stayed from 10pm to midnight.
They returned again a couple of times on Wednesday to find many vagrants there.
“The 11th floor is collapsing. The building is cracked,” he said.
He said the building still had electrical cables, and some of the vagrants were trying to access those.