Silverton vagrants raise concerns

Councillor Freddie Pienaar says vagrants have built shacks on a field in Silverton. Photo: Mari Rheeder

It seems a field on the corner of Sokor and Jasmyn streets in Silverton has become a new home for vagrants and illegal dumping.

Residents, who asked to stay anonymous, said the field was used as a bathroom.

“Women and children driving past are forced to see this field being used as a toilet,” said a disgruntled resident.

Another resident said it was an eyesore to drive past the field every day and they were afraid for their safety.

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The residents said they felt the fires made by the vagrants, urinating in public and the illegal dumping could lead to health problems.

The resident said the vagrants hung their washing over boundary walls.

“This is not good for Silverton’s image. Everyone is up in arms in this neighbourhood.”

Ward 87 councillor Freddie Pienaar has met with residents to discuss the issue.

Pienaar said the absence of legal dumpsites in the area was a concern.

“We have a shortage of legal dumpsites. The nearest one to Silverton is in Eersterust.”

“People do not feel safe using this dumpsite.”

Pienaar said he planned to create a mini dumpsite and recycling operation on vacant land in the middle of his ward “so people can earn some extra money”.

He said the problem was if the metro moved vagrants, it had to find alternative accommodation for them.

“There are no ablution blocks where they are staying,” said Pienaar.

He said finding new accommodation for vagrants was difficult as there was no unused land available.

“Most of the residents have been understanding and realise the budget is a problem.”

He said the metro was busy with cleanup operations moving from ward to ward.

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He said in Kameeldrift there was a plot that could accommodate vagrants but was overpopulated.

“We need to find different land.”

He said vagrants could not be summarily removed from where they were as some probably worked close by.

Metro spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said the city was only made aware of the presence of vagrants on 31 May.

“Social workers will visit the site for assessment, which will determine the intervention relevant to this matter.”

He said many factors contributed to homelessness.

“One is unemployment and an influx of people into the city in search of better opportunities to improve their lives.”

“This is a challenge not only faced by this metro but other metros as well.”

He said the most likely solution would be a partnership between the government and other stakeholders and the homeless.

Crime can be reported to the metro police on 012-358-7095/6.

Cases of homeless people who need assistance can be reported to social development in Manaka House in the city centre or any of the seven metro regions’ customer care centres or an NGO that deals with homeless people in the metro.

Illegal dumping can be reported to department of environmental management via [email protected]

Councillor Freddie Pienaar says vagrants have built shacks on a field in Silverton. Photo: Mari Rheeder

Ward councilor Freddie Pienaar. Photo: Mari Rheeder

Illegal dumping on the field. Photo: Mari Rheeder

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Mari Rheeder
Online Editor

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