‘Sex, drugs and crime court’ goes up in flames
Many residents celebrated prematurely when Currie Court’s top floor went up in flames last week as the building is a hot spot for criminal activities including prostitution and drug peddling taking place.
Firefighters managed to salvage the rest of the building made up of businesses at the bottom floor.
According to an employee in one of the businesses in the building, Nyameko Nkoji, the flat allegedly caught fire when a tenant left a burning cigarette in his room.
Captain Hazel Mqala, spokesperson for SAPS East London, however, confirmed that the cause is yet to be established. Nkoji works at a repair shop and says he understands why people are happy about the fire. “I have been working here for four months and I have seen it all. The place is infested with criminals, people get robbed, sex workers going in and out, people being beaten up and smoking dagga and pills,” he said.
According to Captain Mqala, the police are aware of these activities and conduct a lot of raids at Currie Court and Currie Street. “We have arrested a lot of people there for stolen goods, we have found criminals hiding out in there, we have found people using drugs. There were all sorts of criminal activities at this place,” she said.
The building became an ideal crime haven as it has not had electricity and running water for months. The high rate of criminal activities in the area has affected a lot of businesses that operate until late.
Students from the local universities accommodated in the area claim that they cannot go to the library in the late afternoon because the building turns into a hot crime spot. The public turned to social media stating that the building should have been allowed to burn down, to finally get rid of the crime that it harbours. They are tired of questioning authorities and wondering who the property owner is.
They hope that this incident will get their attention to develop and maintain such buildings in the neighbourhood.