‘Keep sex workers off our streets’
Durban - Glenwood residents, schoolchildren and business owners staged a picket and poster campaign at the weekend to demonstrate against prostitution in the Durban suburb.
They stood at the intersection of Helen Joseph (Davenport) and Esther Roberts (Frere) roads holding placards with messages including: “This is not a red light district” and “Why should our children witness this X-rated behaviour”.
Heather Rorick, Bulwer Community Safety Forum chairwoman, said the problem had escalated over the past decade and the forum wished to reclaim the streets.
“The prostitutes have no regard for anyone, they throw away condoms everywhere, they relieve themselves in public and they harass our children when they return from school in the afternoons. It’s unacceptable,” she said.
Robin van Rensburg, owner of the Fish Deli restaurant at the corner of Esther Roberts and Helen Joseph roads, said he was frustrated with sex workers operating outside his premises.
He said that they were a nuisance and tarnished the image of the neighbourhood and businesses in the area.
“They usually waited here outside of my shop for their Johns, but I stopped all of that because I can’t run a restaurant while prostitutes are standing outside,” he said.
Van Rensburg said his business had been there for over a year and he suspected that clients were comfortable with picking up the sex workers from that corner.
“Some of the Johns (clients) come here with company cars to pick them up - it’s unbelievable,” he said.
Van Rensburg said he has resorted to chasing the workers away from his shop.
He said he reported prostitutes to the neighbourhood watch, who then alerted the SAPS.
“They fight with us, harass us and tell us that they have every right to be on the streets, but it’s not justifiable if they do it at the expense of disregarding the community and the young schoolchildren,” said Van Rensburg.
Timothy Thumbi, a Grade 10 Glenwood High pupil, said he had never been harassed by sex workers, but he felt it was important to join the picket to tackle the problem in the area.
“I know kids from my school who have had experiences where the sex workers flashed their private parts at them and harassed them,” he said.