DA takes up the fight against criminality at NMB problem buildings

Issued by Andrew Whitfield MP – DA EC Provincial Leader
01 Feb 2024 in Press Statements

The DA will submit a motion to the Nelson Mandela Bay Council and write to the South African Police Service (SAPS) to ensure that the city’s scourge of crime-ridden problem buildings is urgently addressed.

These derelict buildings have become a haven for criminals dealing drugs and attacking and robbing residents and tourists. Left to deteriorate, these dens of iniquity have become major contributors to crime spiralling out of control.

Today, 01 February 2024, we conducted oversight inspections in Central in Gqeberha where the issue of problem and highjacked buildings is so out of control the area now resembles a war zone.

[see pictures here, here and here]

The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, which owns many of these buildings, has done very little to address a crisis that is impacting the health and safety of residents and decimating the tourism potential of the city.

It has also become abundantly clear that SAPS has no concrete plan in place to target the rampant crime that occurs at problem and hijacked buildings.

The municipality has also failed to enforce its problem-building bylaw, despite having a problem-building task team, and must be held accountable for this travesty.

The DA will provide SAPS with a comprehensive list of problem buildings, based on the municipality’s register. This list will be sent to the provincial police commissioner as well as all police stations in the Metro, to ensure that they are aware of buildings where urgent intervention is needed.

DA NMB Caucus Leader, Cllr Retief Odendaal, will also be taking the following steps to address the issue with the municipality:

  • Table a motion to the council to ramp up action taken regarding problem buildings and to provide the Council with regular progress reports made.
  • Put pressure on the Provincial Heritage Resources Authority (PHRA) to fast-track applications for demolition/rectification of buildings older than 60 years.
  • Rates relief for problem/hijacked buildings to make it financially viable for property owners to reclaim buildings.
  • Launch a public campaign to expose irresponsible property owners after the DA has contacted them to provide assistance.
  • Assist with organising frequent raids by SAPS, the Metro Police and the Public Health Directorate.

The DA has a plan to rescue Nelson Mandela Bay from criminals, and we will hold the municipality and the police accountable to ensure that citizens are no longer held to ransom by criminal elements.