The construction of the La Mercy Maths, Science and Technology Academy, which was meant to open next month, has come to a halt. Picture: Karinda Jagmohan
Durban - Residents of La Mercy were worried about the impact of having a boarding school in their neighbourhood. Community representative Sandheel Maharaj said developers had employed local residents to work at the construction site and, when they downed tools two months ago, some workers allegedly turned to petty crime to make a living.

Maharaj said: “Unemployed workers started wandering around the streets because they are not at work anymore. There is a threat of squatters who could seek shelter at the construction site and once living there, the eviction process would be difficult.”

Maharaj said they were also concerned about the new maths, science and technology school being a boarding school in the La Mercy area.

Krish Naidoo, a resident who has lived in the suburb for over 30 years, was concerned about the disturbance it would cause. Naidoo was among community members who raised funds to build a swimming pool, tennis court, cricket pitch and nets for pupils and the community to use.

The facilities were demolished last year at the start of construction.

Naidoo said: “We used money out of our own pockets to build these facilities for our children to better their future and it was all destroyed to make way for huge buildings.”

The La Mercy Ratepayers’ Association, vice-chairperson, Vishnu Naidoo, said he attended several meetings with project stakeholders.

He claimed the rights of the pupils of the former public schools were violated and so too the community's hard work in building the school.

Department of Education spokesperson, Kwazi Mthethwa, said social responsibility was needed and stakeholders should work together to ensure a peaceful environment.