Saturday March 4 saw disgruntled residents from Milner Estate take to the streets in protest against scrapyards operating in the community despite court orders prohibiting scrapyards in Milner Estate.
Since 2021, community members have been petitioning officials to have the scrapyards closed down.
In 2022, the high court issued an order restraining two of the three scrapyard owners in Milner Estate from using premises in a residential area.
Memorandums from the director for spatial planning to the city manager in July 2022 confirm that the scrapyards operating at 96 Evans Road, 56 Scott Road and 25 Moffat Road were operating in contravention of zoning restrictions and had previously been given 30 days to vacate their operations, however this was ignored.
The directorate encouraged the city manager to pursue legal action.
On February 22, an inspection was conducted by Eastern Cape SAPS. Fines were issued where applicable.
Despite this, up until March 3, the community said that all three scrapyards remained operational.
Resident Marlene Marais said, “The scrapyards are bringing the wrong characters to our area. Theft, violence and break-ins have increased.
The scrapyards are operating 24/7.
“They have no regard for the law because they are still operating in contempt of court,” she said.
On August 18 2022, the community submitted letters to ward councillor, Kuhle Ciliza expressing concerns that when the SAPS issued permits for scrapyards, it was abetting such owners in defrauding the municipality from revenue collection.
“These scrapyards operating in residential areas have a negative impact on property values,” the residents said.
Ciliza advised the residents to address their grievances to BCMM health and safety.
The community marched to all three scrapyards. The owner of the scrapyard at 56 Scott Road, Aileen Hunter said “I stand with the community.
“I chase away the dealers who come here because I believe they are trouble. I go out and buy in Beacon Bay and I store what I buy on my premises.
“I have taken my signs off to discourage people from bringing scrap to my premises.”
BCMM PR councillor, Sue Bentley said, “When town planning escalates these issues to [their] legal [department], they tend to stall there as the dealerships continue operating and terrorising the communities.
“In the council meeting [on January 17] we tabled a motion about the illegal scrap metal dealerships including mobile dealerships, in an attempt to slow down the theft of cabling, water meters and drain covers.”
The motion calls for an investigation into all scrapyards in the metro and for the provision of a comprehensive report indicating; all scrapyards operating legally with requisite permits and those without, how many cases relating to scrapyards are reported to legal services and the reasons informing cases that have stalled for longer than six months.
One scrap trader who preferred to remain anonymous said he supported the community’s protest to have the scrapyards in Milner Estate closed.
“There is a group of scrap traders who claimed this area as their turf and they charge money from the rest of us, for the rights to sell our wares here.
“It would be to our advantage as well to move these scrapyards to a central area. I’m forced to come to Milner because the scrapyard in Lennox Road pays the most for aluminium cans.