Reservoir Hills ratepayers at public meeting last Thursday. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo

Durban - Reservoir Hills ratepayers have vowed to fight plans to build more student accommodation complexes in the suburb.

Community Police Forum (CPF) member Ray Jeawon, who attended Thursday’s meeting, said: “We are expected to swallow that bitter pill and that’s not going to happen.

“As far as the plans are concerned, we are going to stop it here and now. We have done our homework. 

"We have looked at the recommendations as far as rezoning is concerned. We’ve realised O’Flaherty Road is being used as a yardstick and there has been a lot of things that have come into play. We are not naive. A 500m radius will frighten you.”

He acknowledged that much time and effort had been put together for the pilot project but added that residents would not stand for it.

Jeawon said that in the past, pilot projects had been approved without consultation. He would fight, he added, not for himself but for the youth of the community.

“I don’t know what God has in store for me but we will stand and fight for our future generations. I respect the team for their work but we reject all that you have stated right now. Reservoir Hills is becoming a cesspool.

“You say that Reservoir Hills will become universal but I’m not worried about it being universal, I’m worried about Reservoir Hills. We are a small community who care for where we live.”

He added that they would fight in a proper manner.

“Our infrastructure at the moment is under threat. So you tell me, if a 171 unit accommodation is put up, what happens to Reservoir Hills?”

The deputy chairperson of the Reservoir Hills CPF, Vinod Juglal, wanted to know from the city’s consultants how many students would be housed in the area.

“We want more information. How many students are going to be staying there?

“You are getting paid for this but all the documents, I believe, have been signed. The municipality is not going to come out here when problems occur.

“We have invested a lot of money and a lot of time in our homes. We are not going to let the municipality destroy what we have built in the past 20 to 30 years. We are finding it hard to even breath in our own homes. I blame the municipality or the developers.”

Juglal added that the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) had about seven sites to accommodate the students.

He said he was not opposed to providing accommodation for students but it must not be in residential areas where it would negatively affect residents.

Resident Des Moodley, the chairperson of health, safety and security at the municipality, said the community was been held to ransom with the proposed plans.

“Let’s stop beating around the bush. This community has been held to ransom. What happens to the 500m radius around the residence? 

"You must understand that Reservoir Hills has always had the university here but a large amount of the land was isolated. We, as the community, will not accept any more students.”

He questioned whether a threat analysis was done. “Have you not realised the number of buses that are now increasing in various residential areas?”

Moodley said infrastructure was suffering.

“I can take you to Manton Crescent where raw sewage is flowing exactly where a bus is dropping off students.”

He was concerned that crime would escalate as a result of further student accommodation.

“We are sitting with crime and an unemployment rate of about 56% among the youth. They are forced into crime,” said Moodley.