Durban - Businesses in Umbilo have been up in arms over illegal dumping and piles of litter accumulating in the streets as it was “making the area unattractive for customers”.
The Umbilo Business Forum (UBF), a voluntary membership and nonprofit organisation established in 2010, has been the voice of the local business community.
Ian Campbell-Gillies, UBF policy director, said that since several side streets that were in a terrible state had been closed off with concrete barriers to prevent vehicle access, they have seen a difference.
He said one of the eyesore places was the Dalton Road beer hall, where people were living alongside heaps of dirt and raw sewage flowing on the pavement and street.
Campbell-Gillies said two businesses had used their own money to unblock wastewater drains.
“The Durban Solid Waste Unit is under-resourced in this area. Only one waste removal truck has been allocated to it. The team tried their best. The forum contributes R100 million a year in rates, excluding tax, and this is the kind of service we get. It appears that they want to drive out businesses from this area,” said Cambell-Gillies.
He also called for mobile public toilets to be placed in high pedestrian zones in the area. He said people were answering the call of nature on street corners and in the side lanes.
Umondli Security Services Director Zakariyya Vahed said he paid close to R10 000 to hire a Bobcat and a skip bin for two days.
Vahed, who has clients on various roads, said he noticed the illegal dumping and side lanes piled with litter and decided to act.
“The unkempt side-walks and roads bring down the area and push away clients from trading here.
“I was surprised by the amount of litter we removed. There is also a high occupancy of vagrants in the area, which is contributing to the problem. We are trying to stop illegal dumping from reoccurring,” Vahed said.
eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said illegal dumping in these areas was mainly caused by businesses that were without business contracts.
“It is also noted that dumping occurs in the evening by trucks that come into the area. The dumping has mixed waste, which cannot be hand-picked as it also contains human waste, rubble and general waste.
“The tools required to clean huge illegally dumped waste include a TLB and a tipper truck,” he explained.
Mayisela said the challenges were complex and needed various stakeholders such as law enforcement, human settlements, roads, safer cities, electricity, water and sanitation and the community at large.
“The Cleansing and Solid Waste Unit will constantly monitor the area and take action when needed.
“eThekwini Municipality would like to thank the Umbillo businesses for taking the initiative to clean the Umbilo area.
“We encourage other communities to be mindful of the environment and dispose of waste in the correct manner,” Mayisela said.
Businesses who would like to take contracts with DSW are encouraged to do so by contacting 031 311 8804.