The growing number ofstudents looking for accommodation near their education institutions and the Durban Central Business District has seen a sharp increase in the number of unscrupulous landlords letting out rundown buildings.

To ensure that these ‘slum landlords’ face the full might of the law, eThekwini Municipality’s Problem
Buildings Bylaw enforcement team is intensifying their blitz operation.

Speaking at an operation which was held on 15 February, Inner City eThekwini Regeneration and Urban Management Programme (iTrump) Senior Manager Hoosen Moolla said more residents are now reporting Problem Buildings By-law contraventions. The team, made up of several Municipal units such as Metro Police, Electricity, Urban Management Zone, Fire and Emergency Services, Water and Sanitation, Auditing, Business Licensing and the South African Police Service raided more than eight buildings, served notices on illegal businesses and unscrupulous landlords. More than 10 people were detained after they were found without the appropriate documentation required for them to live in the country.

Moolla said the team was working hard to curb the scourge. “We have court cases lined up where I will give evidence against building owners, and we have also seen more successes this year with four new building closures. We have also forced building owners to rehabilitate their buildings,” he said.

Moolla said it was unfortunate that landlords still preyed on young people looking for accommodation in the City.
The City, he said, has to comply with the confines of the law when closing down a building. “However in the interim, notices are served.”

Residents can report any suspicious illegal activity to the South African Police Service and Metro Police on the call centre number 031 361 0000.