Student parties too loud

Pietermaritzburg - Help Scottsville.

That is the plea from irate residents who are fed up with rowdy students that have “infiltrated” the area.

Karen Morewood, the spokesperson for a local community group named ‘Help Scottsville’, said she was forced to call the police to intervene when students became unruly late at night. “We cannot sleep at night and our area is no longer safe. We have had students parked outside our homes, drinking alcohol and playing loud music until the early hours of the morning,” she said.

Morewood said she believed that most of the “students” that hang around in the area “do not even live here”.

“There are house parties almost every weekend and students who probably do not even live here attend the parties. We cannot sleep and rest in peace because of the noise,” she said.

Morewood said she represents more than 30 families who live in roads around the University of KwaZulu Natal and other tertiary institutes. “The number of families living in Scottsville has reduced drastically. In Pepworth Road there are just two families who live there and the rest are student digs. When it is time to oppose digs being built we are outnumbered,” Morewood said.

She said families had reported the excessive noise, litter, outdoor drinking and burglaries that besieged the area since the increase of student digs.

“My husband and I bought in Golf Road in 2008 and it was going to be our ‘long-term’ home until our children finished school. We are now forced to reconsider our situation, as we feel we are being forced out of the area by constant noise, filth and increased crime. This was not part of our long-term plan,” Morewood said.

The Help Scottsville group said they feel the municipality has “dropped the ball” with regard to enforcing the by-laws.

Another resident from the group, who asked not to be named, said they would do whatever they could to avoid the establishment of more student digs.

“We do not want our children to grow up in this environment,” he said.

“While one understands that the university has a severe housing shortage, it is not the responsibility of the ratepayers of Scottsville to have to put up with the noise and mess that goes hand in hand with a digs or boarding house,” said another resident.

Msunduzi municipal acting spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said they were aware of the issues relating to student accommodation in Scottsville.

“There are mechanisms in place to address this, as contravention notices are issued for the illegal usage of houses for student accommodation,” she said.

Madonda said the municipality are also in the process of developing a policy that will guide the establishment of student accommodation throughout the municipal area.

“Interested and affected parties together with the general public will be involved in this process in due course,” she added.