Furore over plan to take sex work in hand

By Niren Tolsi

Last week’s back-flip by Durban’s city fathers on the proposed creation of a red-light district in time for the Fifa World Cup in 2010 would have done a double-jointed Thai sexhibitionist proud.

Following recent comments by municipal manager Michael Sutcliffe on national television, deputy-mayor Logie Naidoo was quoted two weeks ago saying the proposal of a red-light district in Durban would be banged around by the council before the end of the year.

Both, however, admitted to the Daily News last week that they had perhaps been a tad premature with their ejaculation to the media and that a directive from national government would be needed before any discussions could take place.

But talk of a red-light district was given a vigorous knocking by IFP Youth Brigade chair, Pat Lebenya-Ntanzi: “The municipality’s reasoning behind this move is that they are legalising prostitution because it exists and that it is a reality we are facing. We find this comment laughable,” she scoffed.

“Does it mean that we will now have to legalise designated smoking areas for dagga users because it is a reality we are facing? And will we now have special lanes for drivers who use their cellphones while driving because it is a reality we are facing? And will we say to taxi drivers that it is okay to jump red lights, because it is a reality we are facing? I find this kind of logic myopic to say the least,” thundered Lebenya-Ntanzi.

Sutcliffe will have to contain his mounting heat over council regulation of massage parlours, escort agencies and street-walking-pay-for-play providers until a sly wink from national government arrives.

But he did confide that he was a “firm believer” in “some sort of control” when it comes to illicit action, arousing tantalising visions of the belligerent and occasionally puce-faced city manager disciplined by an Amazonian dominatrix.

Sutcliffe said:” We are probably ultimately heading in that direction [of designated sex-industry areas] but I don’t know if it will be done by 2010.

“We have an election in 2009 and I have yet to see a White Paper or national discussion on this. So the earliest we could probably see anything changing will be towards the end of 2009 or early 2010,” Sutcliffe said.

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