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Merebank residents want scrap dealers out of their suburb after they recorded 40 crime incidents in a month

DA councillor Sithembiso Ngema holding stripped copper pipes which residents said were stolen and sold to scrapyards. Picture: Willem Phungula

DA councillor Sithembiso Ngema holding stripped copper pipes which residents said were stolen and sold to scrapyards. Picture: Willem Phungula

Published Jan 19, 2022

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DURBAN - MEREBANK residents have called on the eThekwini Municipality to shut down scrapyard dealers in their residential area after 40 crime incidents were recorded within a month.

Residents under Mere West Foundation held a protest last month and handed a petition to municipal officials, demanding a shutdown of scrapyards which they said had contributed to a spike in criminal activities in the area.

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They questioned the municipality’s decision to allow the scrapyards to operate in the residential area instead of the industrial business premises in Jacobs.

The community said since submitting their memorandum on December 11, 40 incidents of crime were recorded in their area, including housebreaking and theft, which it attributed to scrapyard operations in the area.

Mere West Foundation convener Premilla Deonath said they were disappointed that it had been more than a month since they submitted their memorandum but the municipality had not responded.

“We have seen a lot of stealing and housebreaking by vagrants who always pass here pushing trolleys full of steel and copper material to sell to the scrapyards. In our memorandum, we wanted to know whether these scrapyards are operating legally or not.

“Why were they allowed to open in a residential area without consultation with us as residents? These were the questions we would have put to the mayor, but he apologised and we were told he had Covid-19 on that day,” said Deonath.

In their memorandum, the residents said violent crimes had increased, including attempted murder.

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They accused trolley pushers and scrap haulers of taking over the roads while going to scrapyards.

Deonath said there were three scrapyards in the area and wanted to know whether they all had operating licences and whether they kept details of sellers. This would be helpful when residents needed to identify the sellers should they find their stolen goods.

“We have many problems, so we call on the mayor to take his time and visit us here because there are too many unanswered questions.”

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One of the scrapyard dealers who was visited by the Daily News team denied that they buy stolen goods, and called on the residents to come and identify their goods.

Johny Singh, who introduced himself as the chief executive officer, said his scrapyard was operating legally, adding that they bought rubble from reclamation groups to sift metal pieces, not from trolley pushers.

eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the relevant department would follow up with the officials who had accepted the memorandum, and attributed the delay to the fact that the memo was submitted during the holidays.

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DA councillor Sithembiso Ngema said he had been raising the issue with the municipality.

Daily News

Related Topics:

SAPSCrime and courts

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