Truck congestion, urban decay weighs heavy on Umbilo businesses
THE Umbilo Business Forum are at their wits end, as they struggle with congestion and general degradation in the area, which has resulted in their businesses suffering.
The decay has led to the business forum seeking legal advice about taking the eThekwini Municipality to court if these problems are not resolved, and for the city to enforce the law.
The forum’s policy director Ian Campbell- Gillies said they want to establish an area that caters to both businesses and the residents, which creates jobs and was low on crime.
“We will be sending lawyers letters and considering interdicts,” said Campbell- Gillies, after the forum met earlier this week.
The organisation represents about 80 businesses in the area. Campbell- Gillies said they have been trying to resolve the matter for about five years.
“We don’t have toilets for pedestrians, people literally use the streets as toilets in this day and age. The disarray and dysfunction in the municipality has gotten to such an extent that we feel it is time for us to self manage,” said Campbell- Gillies.
Campbell- Gillies said they would begin seeking legal advice, while ensuring they still get service delivery for businesses and Umbilo residents.
Legal adviser Nontokozo SemeMpanza said he would approach the ethekwini Municipality, on behalf of the business owners, to enforce the law in the area. Failing which, a court application will be made for them to do their job.
She said they had a number of informal meetings with the municipal officials and the Umbilo SAPS, before taking this decision.
“The property owners have a common cry, that property values are going down because of the delapidation and ruin. It is not just congestion but overall decay,” she said.
Seme- Mpanza said it was not right that the municipality needed to be forced to enforce the law.
One of the businesses affected in the area is textile manufacturer FQ Manufacturers. Its financial manager Doran Subiah said they had a 24- hour operation and had about 320 staff, and expanded their businesses despite Covid- 19 challenges.
“But it does not help with what is happening in the area right now,” he said.
He said they had incidents where staff could not come in due to congestion in the area.
Subiah said what they wanted to do seemed drastic, but all they wanted was for there to be enforcement of municipal by- laws.
Durban Metro police spokesperson Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad said he was unaware of these issues.
“Nothing has come to my attention,” said Sewpersad.
He said there were proper channels to raise these issues, like raising it with the local community policing forum where they had a representative. He said they could then call and use the reference to follow up on complaints.