Chatsworth residents who brought a trucking company operation to a halt over noise levels has won the first round after the company agreed to stop working through the night.
Residents of the Moorcross Community Alliance gathered at 3am on Sunday outside Granada Street Freight and blocked the entrance with their private vehicles. After three years of battles between the residents and the eThekwini Municipality over the trucking company’s operating hours proved fruitless, the residents decided enough was enough.
Alliance spokesman, Elvis Govender, said their complaints had fallen on deaf ears, prompting them to make a stand. The residents say the 24-hour operation disturbs their sleep. During a previous meeting with residents, the trucking company owner said he could only stop the business between midnight and 4am, but residents refused, saying they needed eight hours of sleep.
Yesterday, after an intense morning, a senior metro policeman, Samuel Singh, and Dhiren Krishna, the owner of the trucking company, met the community. Krishna agreed that the trucks would stop working at 8pm until Wednesday after which, Govender said, there would be a joint meeting with relevant role-players to find a long-term solution.
In a list of complaints sent to the metro police, residents said:
- A container stacker made a loud bang when removing containers or offloading containers from trucks.
-Trucks revved excessively when they entered and left the premises.
- Hooting by truck drivers was excessive.
- The trucks’ braking was excessive.
- A diesel fuel tank on the premises had no consent.
- Trucks must work between 7am and 7pm.
“These trucks are carrying close to 40 tons on residential roads. The owner is arrogant. Enough is enough. He defies many by-laws and operates with impunity. We must find common ground. We are not saying he must not operate, but he cannot operate above the law,” Govender said.
Krishna did not want to comment. The company had moved to the site in 2012. There were about 20 trucks and trailers on the premises.
The residents did give way to vehicles from the Passenger Rail Association of South Africa which shares the same driveway along the Moorton Railway station. They gathered under a tree and sat on chairs overlooking the truck depot.
In e-mail correspondence with Govender, ward councillor Jayraj Singh said that, according to town planning, Moorcross Drive was a Class 4 Road designed to accommodate heavy and articulated vehicles. Singh said the Fire Department had fined the company R2500 for dispensing fuel.
“An environmental health practitioner (EHP) stated that a notice was served on the operator until Friday.
“Thereafter the EHP will prosecute in terms of by-laws at their disposal. Metro Fire said it will issue a fine for every contravention that occurred but cannot stand at the site waiting for a contravention. Regular inspections will be carried out,” Singh said.
Govender’s request for mass restriction and truck prohibition signs on the roadside was declined by the eThekwini Transport Authority (ETA).
In an e-mail to Govender, the ETA, stated that applying mass restriction would not alleviate the situation.
Even if they did put up a timed mass restriction, apart from not dealing with the problem, to detain the trucks at the prohibited time, metro police would have to be sitting there the whole night.
The ETA stated that in many cases they put up mass restrictions, only to find that the signs disappear after a short while.