NEWSFLASH
 
28 AUGUST 2019
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
New Unit to Tackle Problem Buildings
 
ETHEKWINI Municipality’s drive to change the inner city centre has been bolstered with the creation of a new unit, the Problem Buildings Division, who are already making inroads in turning around buildings.
 
The new unit, supported by expert guidance on how to tackle problem buildings, has been built on the foundation of work that started several years ago by various other units that took on errant property owners.
 
A public meeting, to share the vision of the unit, will be held in the coming month.
 
Daniels Pentasaib, Senior Manager in the Building Inspectorate Branch, said the City’s vision was to create a vibrant inner city, underpinned by well managed buildings.
 
“The City of Durban is moving towards a direction of progressively transforming the inner city into a space for investment and where residents can live, work, study and play. We stay committed to creating clean, safe and unique city precincts. The Problem Buildings Division will be dedicated to tackling problem buildings,” he said.
 
There are approximately 80 bad buildings within the inner City, of which 39 buildings are within the Mahatma Gandhi Precinct alone. Some of the buildings have become havens as drug dens, brothels and homes for vagrants. Some of the reasons for buildings being classified as problematic include being dilapidated, lack of maintenance, abandoned, dysfunctional body corporate, in arrears with Municipal accounts and various other public nuisance bylaw contraventions.
 
The unit has already made inroads in tackling buildings and in July, the City was given the green light by courts to start demolishing some problem buildings. In July, blocks of flats in Trafalgar Lane, in South Beach, were demolished by the City. In the coming weeks, the rubble will all be cleared and grass will be planted to create a clean and green environment.
 
Pentasaib said after the demolition, the owners of another problematic building in the area, approached the unit for advise on overturning the building’s bad state.
 
“We were pleased because that building had been a problem for many years. It shows that property owners are willing to work with us and achieving this vision of a sustainable City centre. We had a site visit at that building and offered guidance in terms of painting and repair work that can be undertaken to uplift the building’s image,” said Pentasaib.
 
The City is pursuing legal avenues with other problem buildings, and each building is assessed and handled according to its unique circumstances. The unit is also undertaking research to find viable solutions to assist property owners in overhauling their buildings, which will be revealed at the public meeting.
 
Pentasaib said the City is committed to working with the private sector in eradicating bad buildings for purposes such as commercial, residential apartments, student accommodation, social housing, and social facilities required to address social ills.
 
ENDS
 
Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Communications Unit. For media enquiries contact Msawakhe Mayisela on 060 966 4220