AFTER the GO & Express article highlighting the decay and lack of maintenance of West Bank, East London’s oldest residential area, Buffalo City Metro (BCM) mayor spoke about the situation.
The GO! reporter tracked executive mayor Xola Pakati while he was, coincidentally, on a tour of Greenfields, West Bank and Willow Park and got to speak to the metro’s first citizen, getting it straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak.
Pakati told the GO! & Express last week that BCM is looking at demolishing dilapidated homes in the West Bank area.
He said the metro has a responsibility to preserve the oldest suburb in the city and the municipality has been providing services like building of infrastructure, maintenance of roads, water and electricity to make sure that the area is not in ruins.
“We are attending to potholes and road maintenance [in West Bank area],” he said.
This comes after West Bank residents voiced their concerns and grievances about the state of the suburb via the Facebook page “Fix Our Broken City” and then in the GO front page article last week (Fix our broken city: EL’s oldest suburb, West Bank, left to rot). Residents raised their ire about regular un-repaired water leaks, uncut grass, broken paving and the bad state of the roads.
West Bank resident Rose Schroeder said Pakati is just referring to things they wish they could do. “Maybe this is what they want to do, because they are definitely not doing it here,” said Schroeder, referring to Pakati’s latest comments. “There are water leaks all over; yes some have been fixed but there is a lot to be done still,” she said.
Pakati said they first need to contact the owners of the vacant properties before they take action and start demolishing the homes.
“These houses are a danger to the community because vagrants and homeless people occupy them and the municipality will take a stand. Unfortunately we have to find out who the structures belong to and we don’t know how much time that will take,” Pakati said.
Schroeder also said that she supports the demolishing of depilated houses because people use drugs there, prostitution and underage drinking also happens there. “I have seen young people selling and buying drugs at the park,” she said.