UBF’s 2018 Highlights

unnamedUBF 2018 Highlights

Our extensive combined effort as the UBF and cooperating stakeholders is wrapping up for the year 2018, and it’s time to reflect on what we’ve achieved since January. Join us on a brief look back to see what the people of Umbilo have achieved.

Umbilo Tourism Launch 

The Umbilo and Glenwood suburbs have been included on the Durban routes campaign to drive tourism in the area in October.

unnamed-1The Umbilo Business Forum (UBF) held the Durban routes launch at the Phansi Museum in Glenwood.

Darryl Moodie, of the UBF, said they were aiming to rejuvenate the area of Glenwood and Umbilo to attract local and international tourists. Moodie told residents and concerned businesses that Glenwood and Umbilo’s destiny is in the hands of its citizens.

“Tourism is our agent of quick and powerful change. The forum plans to develop cellphone apps for each region, create a magazine and develop more private and public partnerships.”  said Moodie.

Denis Hurley Center on Carte Blanche

The plight of the city’s homeless was highlighted in an investigative piece by Carte Blanche that aired in August. In the piece, it was said that the city’s homeless people faced exploitation, abuse and neglect at homeless shelters where they pay per night for a safe haven.

The municipality does not see communities, they see vagrants who they need to get rid of,” said Raymond Perrier, the director of the Denis Hurley Centre. The DHC under the direction of Raymond Perrier, serves the needs of a marginalised local community and assists a small creche in the area.

The UBF was consulted by the DHC prior to the Carte Blance program on Sunday 5th August to assist with question material for deputy mayor Peer. These two organisations are the prime movers on social issues in the Umbilo area.

The program has had a significant impact, revealing a startling degree of ignorance and contempt by the deputy mayor for the issues of housing in the city and in the beerhall area.

The logic of the UBF is simple; deal with causes of crime, boost existing business in areas not properly serviced by our expensive rates, and the twin issues of crime and grime are bound to decline.

The spotlight has fallen across the board on service delivery failure by the Ethekwini Municipality.

This culminated in a meeting with Eurakha Singh of Area Based Management and representatives of Ethekwini Transport Authority, Safer Cities and Waste and Sanitation on Wednesday 8th August.

The eThekwini Municipality was then challenged to devise concrete plans to tackle homelessness in the city, a subject that has been swept under the carpet for years.

In brief, the combined DHC and UBF effort resulted in a development proposal for the Dalton Hostel area aimed at coming up with a “holistic approach to assist those living on the street, to reduce begging, drug abuse and crime”.

The proposal calls for the municipality to upgrade the hostel entrance, boost the skin traders as a tourist attraction, maintain the beer hall and help the homeless who live in makeshift shelters.

A study commissioned by the municipality in 2016 found that there were almost 4000 people living on the street and in homeless shelters in central Durban.

The eThekwini Municipality announced the establishment of a multi-sectoral task team to deal with issues related to homelessness within the city.  Click the links to read the full articles.

This serves as official confirmation of the process that began in November 2017 when the UBF first met with Deputy Mayor Fawzia Peer at The Beerhall. The deputy mayor was shocked by both the stench of raw sewerage, the poverty, the visible effects of crime and the extraordinary potential for tourism and strong business inherent in the Skin Trade Shopping Center. The City Hall meeting with Peer in June was the final culmination of this process.

See video clips of our Beerhall meeting here. 

Our Chairman Sikho Msomi now sits on the advisory panel alongside Al Baraka Bank to lead the process based on UBF policy.

The forum will continue to support the amazing work by the Denis Hurley Center (DHC) and its clinic next to the Beerhall.

Congella Park Recycling Project

PLANS to revive the permaculture project at Durban Botanic Garden came under discussion at a meeting with various stakeholders in June.

In attendance were members of the Durban Botanic Gardens and officials representing the city’s Parks Department and Durban Solid Waste who agreed that the 10-year-old permaculture project was not meeting its full potential.

image1-3Jennifer Rampersad from Parks District 7 and Jabulani Memela from DSW, who are responsible for the thriving permaculture project at Congella Park, said they would link the Botanic Gardens project with the Congella Park project.

Memela originally established the permaculture project at Botanic Gardens and was also responsible for running permaculture training courses.

“Each person attending the meeting today represents some sort of help to develop the permaculture garden at Durban Botanic Gardens again. We will be revamping the garden, which has become run down over the past few years, to create a new-look garden which will be utilised for training, which will start next month, and a propagation area. We also aim to open a recycling area on site, where materials such as paper, bottles and plastic will be collected from events held by the Durban Botanic Gardens Trust,” she said.

A German student, Sophia Zierock, who has been working with Jennifer, will put together a landscape design for the existing and recycling areas.

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Rampersad said horticulture, agriculture and nature conservation students would be able to utilise the training sessions and Sipho Mhlongo, horticulturist at the Gardens, will be involved in sustaining the garden. She and Memela would oversee the project, but third year students from DUT and Unisa would be involved in managing the area in their absence. The vision is to build a permaculture display that visitors to the Gardens can walk around and view. Propagation will be done on site.

The Congella Park garden, which was established last year in collaboration with the Umbilo Business Forum, is currently used to train homeless men who had previously lived in the park. The men were involved in establishing the Park’s garden project and now live in tents in Congella Park and work in the garden where the produce they grow is sold to local restaurants. They have also recently been assisted with opening their own bank accounts, in a bid to get them financially stable and integrated with the economy.

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“We are aiming to do the same here with the Botanic Gardens project. The vegetables we grow will go to supply schools and restaurants in the area. Money will then be ploughed back into permaculture project,” said Jennifer.

Martin Clement, curator at Durban Botanic Gardens expressed said he was enthusiastic about the partnership.

ALSO READ: Garden produces first crop

“This is the 10th anniversary of the Gardens’ permaculture project. It is inspiring that we are going to be rejuvenating the garden and start training again this year. We have good ingredients to make this a success – we have the right people involved and have seen the evidence on the ground with the success of the Congella Park project. This project has potential to grow and succeed,” he said.

In conclusion, we thank you for being a part of the UBF legacy, and invite you to continue playing a part in watching the area grow into a liveable and vibrant historical centre of our KZN home.

Many thanks,

The UBF team.