Vagrants strip eThekwini
Criminals in eThekwini are now targeting municipal infrastructure, with recent siting’s showing that vagrants are now stealing steel barrier rails in and around the city, stripping them off of the roads, sideways and bridges, allegedly selling them at scrapyards.
The bridge near the Berea Centre is one of the latest spots where this type of theft is rife. The barrier rails protecting pedestrians from falling down the steep embankment were recently stolen.
Quite a large number of Durban residents who either reside or walk along this route have expressed concern for their safety. More so, the shoppers who visit the shops in and around the Berea Centre who say they have been mugged at knife point when walking along this bridge, they now fear that with the railings missing one of them might be forced down the bank and onto the freeway.
One pedestrian, Njabulo Lukhele, walks along this route every morning and evening when going to his place of work said he was worried that by the time the eThekwini Metro Police investigate the issue there will be nothing left of these rails.
Speaking to Iziko Lukhele explained that the criminals stripping these rails were working at alarming speed. According to Lukhele in less than a week a majority of the railings had been stripped.
“The guys doing this mean business you can tell by the rate they are going at,” he said.
In similar incident, three suspects were apprehended in relation to the theft of railings from the Durban beachfront. According to reports, forty railings were removed from the New Pier Wedge Beach and ten were removed at North Beach Pier.
eThekwini Municipality spokesperson, Msawakhe Mayisela said that they had taken note of this trend.
“The matter was reported to beach management. The railings are being replaced,” he said.
Senior Superintendent at Durban Metro Police, Parboo Sewpersad speaking to IOL newspaper said that Scrap metal dealers must be sent a clear message that they will be searched legally in conjunction with the South African Police Services (SAPS) and other law enforcement organisations.
“Our Infrastructure is being damaged and taken to scrap metal dealers and they are not declaring. They should be declaring yes, they have registers but with fictitious name, how can you trace a vagrant with no fixed abode?” he said.
Meanwhile addressing the media recently, eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said that a resolute team of metro police personnel has been deployed targeting various crime hotspots in the city. “We are responding to the issue of crime so that we are able to reduce criminal activity taking place,” said Kaunda.