Informal settlements between the plush homes in Reservoir Hills.     Leon Lestrade, African News Agency (ANA).
Informal settlements between the plush homes in Reservoir Hills. Leon Lestrade, African News Agency (ANA).
Anusha Khan wants the government to address the mushrooming of informal settlements. 
Picture: Leon Lestrade, African News Agency (ANA)
Anusha Khan wants the government to address the mushrooming of informal settlements. Picture: Leon Lestrade, African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - RESERVOIR Hills was once considered an elite, sought after suburb.

However, criminal activity, a lack of service delivery, and burgeoning informal settlements have raised the ire of residents - who claim their property values have plummeted over the years and they have become soft targets for criminals.

Among them is frustrated businessman Davandran Yegambram, who said he had to spend days cleaning human faeces off his driveway, after a blocked sewer pipe burst on Riddick Avenue, and flowed on to his property soon after the floods in April.

“The municipality repaired the damage but, a month later, it started all over again. Since then, there has been no further assistance.

“Our calls to the city go unanswered or we are pushed from one department to another. The recent excuse is that they have no money for the repairs.

“Our lives are being disrupted because of this. Imagine waking up to the sight and smell of human faeces, and having to wash the area daily.

“We cannot even eat in our home because the smell is so bad.”

He said he had become so frustrated that he had even threatened to dump the waste at the city’s offices.

Teacher Anusha Khan, of Pemary Ridge, lives opposite an informal settlement.

“I bought a three-bedroom duplex as an investment about 14 years ago. If I put this property on the market, I doubt I would get R350000.”

She said if there was no informal settlement in the area, she could get about R750000.

“Other residents have tried to sell their homes and the ‘for sale’ signboards are actually fading because no one wants to buy here.”

Khan added that the filth in the area had attracted rodents, flies and other insects. “There is always a foul smell in the air.”

A retired principal, 76, who lives on Nugget Road and declined to be named, said he moved into the community in the 1970s.

“The suburb had doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers and business people, who prided themselves in building mansions for their families.

“Some of these people still live here, but as you drive around now, most of the people have moved out or their homes are for sale.

“Homes that are worth R2.2million are being sold for R1million or less. Things would be better if the government provided the informal dwellers with proper housing.”

Community activist Ron Naidoo said she wrote to eThekwini Municipality Speaker William Mapena for help.

“The area is being polluted with litter.

“The blocked and overflowing sewers are causing an environmental hazard. ”

The chairperson of the Ratepayers Association Ish Prahlad said: “The municipality needs to be accountable for the dilapidation of Reservoir Hills. It is their lack of service delivery, and the inability to bring some resolution to the housing crisis, that is causing the community to lie in ruins.”

The chairperson of the Community Policing Forum Pravin Gounder said Reservoir Hills was plagued by hijackings, robberies and petty crime.

“Despite teams patrolling residential areas, these crimes are driving people out of the area and putting their homes on the property market is becoming a tough sell.”

Councillor Xolani Nala claimed the municipality had ignored his concerns about the suburb.

“I don’t get responses on any of the issues that pertain to service delivery, informal settlements, or crime.”

City spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said: “The city is working on tackling the issues raised by residents.”

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