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Vagrants invade former police flats Excelsior Court and steal taps, pipes and more

The former police building Excelsior Court on Ridge Road has been condemned. File Picture: Zanele Zulu/ African News Agency (ANA)

The former police building Excelsior Court on Ridge Road has been condemned. File Picture: Zanele Zulu/ African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 19, 2022


Durban – Vagrants have stripped what was left of the infamous Excelsior Court after police officers inhabiting the building were removed weeks ago.

A source told the Daily News that he was informed that about 40 vagrants left Excelsior Court after stripping the building.

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“When we got there it was like a construction site.

“There were vagrants walking out of the building with copper pipes, geysers and basins.

“They even took electric wiring from the lifts,” he said.

“There were vagrants working on every single floor.

“Over 100 vagrants were working there, stripping.”

The former police building Excelsior Court on Ridge Road has been condemned. File Picture: Zanele Zulu/ African News Agency (ANA)

He said some residents left their items on the property but returned to nothing after vagrants smashed the windows to gain access.

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“One of the neighbours (of the building) said the vagrants were also there over the weekend and the police were also called then,” he said.

He said a team would return on Tuesday night depending on their manpower.

“You should see the state of the building.

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“They stripped everything that they could take out of that building,” he said.

He said the police officers were moved out about two or three weeks ago and the building was left uninhabited.

“Now we have moved about 100 vagrants from there,” he said on Tuesday afternoon.

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“There are just rats everywhere, it’s an absolute disgrace.”

He said Mayville SAPS were on the scene.

Excelsior Court in Durban's upmarket Berea. File Picture: Marilyn Bernard/ Independent Media Archives

Ward councillor Remona Mckenzie said she contacted the Mayville SAPS and informed them about Tuesday’s events at Excelsior Court.

Residents complained about the building being stripped by vagrants and that the bad elements would decrease their values of their properties.

“I asked what was being done.

“I had also written to SAPS for barbed wire so the building could be cordoned off.

“I also asked about the electricity in the building and I was told that it was switched off but there were illegal connections,” Mckenzie said.

She said she was speaking to the Department of Public Works for a report.

She will also be emailing the Department of Health and other departments for there to be a clean-up of the area and the rats.

She said the building was condemned and was a health hazard.

Mckenzie said that on Monday, she and her husband went to the property and found a vagrant who had stripped the building of its copper.

When asked, the vagrant said they were selling it in Grey Street in the city centre.

“There’s also a makeshift butchery there.

“Someone was cutting meat on the floor at the garage.

“That area is unhygienic,” Mckenzie said.

“I was also informed and sent proof that some police officers were renting out the rooms illegally.

“The police harassed the renters when they wanted to move out. ”

Water leaks are damaging the Excelsior Court building on Ridge Road in Durban.
 File Picture: Bongani Mbatha (ANA)

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Nqobile Gwala said: “The police are still busy at the scene.”

In January this year, DA Durban Central constituency head Dianne Kohler Barnard said for well over a decade, the DA raised the issue of the Excelsior Court slum building.

Barnard said it was reported to Public Works, the national police commissioner, local SAPS, the city council health department and various municipal units — with zero response.

The SAPS members were ordered to vacate a decade ago but some were still living there… as well as many others who have no connection to the SAPS.

Daily News