By Al Qalam Reporter
The business community of Shallcross outside Durban met with the leaders of the “Bottle Brush” informal settlement, the Deputy Mayor of eThekwini, municipal officials, civic leaders, senior police officers, representatives of the community policing forum and anticrime activists to discuss safety, security and service delivery issues.
The meeting was hosted by the Oasis Group, owners of the Mall, The Ridge @ Shallcross.
Deputy Chairperson of Oasis, Nazeem Ebrahim, said the issues affecting residents of the informal settlement had to be addressed “with urgency.”
Some of the problems include poor lighting, lack of police visibility, dumping of refuse, and protest action against the lack of service delivery which contributed to the false perception that the area is not safe.
Ebrahim said the mall “was extremely safe. Not a single robbery or theft of vehicles had been reported over the past few years. We pride ourselves on providing our shoppers with top security,” he said.
Ebrahim said the business community had to form partnerships at all levels “to assist in developing communities and creating safer neighbourhoods. We need to work together as community members and that requires that we also stand together to ensure that everyone has access to basic services. We have co-existed next to Bottle Brush for a number of years and they, together with the residents in the surrounding areas, are our shoppers and we value them. Living in an informal settlement does not mean you are associated with crime, and we need to dispel these references and move away from giving each other these labels. We are all part of the community and all of us want a safe environment and where one part of our community is affected, we all need to step in and help them.”
Lucky Zulu, one of the leaders of Bottle Brush echoed Ebrahim’s sentiments saying that the Mall and the community have an inter-dependant relationship and cooperation is an imperative.
Deputy Mayor of eThekwini, Councillor Fawzia Peer, said the issues raised by the community were being addressed.
The municipality said high-rise electricity masts are to be erected in the informal settlement. The electrification of the area will also start in phases.
She said the The Ridge @ Shallcross has offered her department the installation of CCTV cameras to monitor the area “which we welcome and appreciate.”
Social activist, Yusuf Abramjee, said it was necessary for all sectors of society to work together. “We have to promote social cohesion. We also agreed to look at ways of assisting the ‘Bottle Brush’ community with social programmes.”
Community leaders from “Bottle Brush” thanked the mall and Peer for taking their concerns seriously and promised to work hand-in-hand to improve conditions.