Residents fume over mushrooming Bluff ‘slum homes’
Durban - RESIDENTS of the Bluff, south of Durban, say they are fed up with “slum homes” and derelict properties in the area decreasing their property values.
The homes are in the Fynnlands area, where jobs including domestic service and construction work are said to be the biggest attraction. This has led to the large numbers of tenants in the slum houses, said Bluff Ratepayers Association chairperson Ivor Aylward.
“There is cheaper housing here and jobs around the area. Our association has heard numerous complaints from the neighbours of these homes, about how their property values have decreased.
“The living conditions in those homes are putrid and disgusting and are bringing our suburb into disrepute,” he added.
A resident, Carol Gounder, who has lived on Kingsclere Road for 26 years, said the non-stop partying caused her sleepless nights.
“We do not sleep because it’s loud all night. There is rubbish thrown on the roadside and life is just becoming unbearable,” she said.
Theenus Rheeder, who lives in Hilltop Road, said that at least 40 people lived in the slum house on the road. “Everyone is tired of this. We have tried everything over the years to address the situation. Our neighbours are trying to sell their properties, but cannot because of this.
“There are flashy cars coming in and out of the road to pick up ladies from here at all hours of the night. Weekends are the worst as fights and parties are going on,” he said.
A resident of Donald Road said the street had three slum houses.
“They have been seen stealing electricity and water by connecting it illegally,” he said.
The owners of the properties are absent, with the tenants paying assistants of the owners.
Bluff residents told the Daily News that the problem had started in 2009 when slum lords saw potential in the large homes in the Fynnlands area which were able to accommodate extended families.
All the homes hold 30 to 45 people in makeshift rooms. The rooms, according to the tenants, cost R800 to R1500 a month.
The condition of the homes is unsafe as some of the structures are falling apart, and there are also low-lying wires connected to lamp posts.
Andy Rossell of the Bluff CPF said that drugs and prostitution had escalated at the homes.
“We have exhausted all means as the CPF to assist the residents. This includes patrols, but this issue persists,” he said.
EThekwini municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the city had received the complaints and was aware of many cases of abandoned and derelict houses and buildings across Durban.
“The issue of rundown and abandoned buildings is a city-wide problem. However, in most cases we have found that these buildings are privately owned.
“In such cases the onus lies with the property owner to protect their private property or surrender it to council should they find it difficult to maintain and/or protect,” he said.
“Legally, the municipality therefore does not have the power to act in the absence of an official letter from the property owner, preferably endorsed by a court of law asking for the city to intervene,” he said.