Apropos a front page story of the appalling conditions in the Durban High Court ( “Judges revolt at conditions” [Mercury 23.2.2015]) that does not tell the full state of affairs of Durban.Durban is becoming a cesspool of crime and corruption and investors want to give it a wide berth. Provincial and local government have to do something now that Durban is going to host the Commonwealth Games in 2020.
Ambassador Cameron Van den Bergh is going to get his hands full when he brands the city. That’s a given.
So I am reminded of Alan Paton’s ‘Ah,but your land is beautiful’ when recently I travelled with a client who was housed in a hotel in Umhlanga Rocks along the north coast towards Ballito and his oohs and aaahs as we passed the natural splendours of that coastline truly pleased me.
I was tempted to detour south towards the grimy metropolis of Durban and take him just two kilometres west of the coastline. That’s where metropolitan Durban, a melting pot of clashing cultures and religions, works and trades and if I took him further towards the cashbah touted tourist hub situated in the confluence of Yusuf Dadoo/Victoria/Dennis Hurley streets where tourist buses no longer stop to treat visitors he would have been shocked at the squalor and unhygienic conditions that inform that part of the cityscape.
The buildings facades are grimy and need a makeover.There is dirt and litter strewn all over and when it rains streets become mini lakes. Street vendors hamper flow of traffic and criminal activity is so repetitive that it does not shock us denizens who ply our lawful trade in that area.
I believe that we can turn this city around and to restore it to its splendour very much like the tourist brochures that are served out to tourists at the Tourist Junction in the vicinity of the area garlanded by the so called “golden mile.”
Our city fathers and mothers can do this whilst ensuring that everyone earns a decent living and keeping political agendas in the periphery of developing Durban ahead on the Commonwealth Games that we will be hosting in 2020! Durban is going to be tough sell much tougher than it was during the 2010 World Cup for tourists will inevitably want to see the historic Durban and to inject some revenue for hard pressed businesses some of which are old as the city itself.
Meanwhile guess where the tourists go? They give Durban a wide berth when they land in King Shaka International…..there’s a hint.