Silverton community at odds with squatters

Public relations officer of the Silverton CPF Young Pretorius speaks during the meeting held on Thursday. Photo: Felicia Nkhwashu

Silverton residents remain concerned after homeless people have taken over an open piece of land in the area.

Residents said they had been complaining for the past two years, but their frustrations have gone unattended.

Residents called a meeting on Thursday, to address illegal squatting at the corner of Sokor and Jasmyn streets, drug dealing, illegal dumping and cable theft.

The meeting was attended by ward councilor Freddy Pienaar, senior members of the Tshwane metro and members of the CPF.

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Pienaar said officials from the department of social development and Tshwane metro police visited the area two months ago and promised to intervene.

“I have not received any report since then,” said Pienaar.

He said alternative land would have to be found before the squatters could be removed.

The homeless have been accused of defecating in the open field, washing in public and throwing food cans all over the place which led to rat infestation.

Resident Malvern Adams said they wanted the squatters gone.

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“We pay rates and taxes,” said Adams.

“The city must remove these people or we will take the law into our own hands.”

One of the squatters, Abraham Kabinda from KwaNdebele, said: “I am not a bad person. I came here because I have no place to stay around Pretoria.”

“I do peace jobs around Silverton as a gardener but I do go home sometimes.”

Dennis Frost, a retired police officer who is also a CPF member, said the squatters made fires and since he moved into the area there had been a plague of rats.

“I have never seen so many rats in my life,” said Frost.

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“A few weeks ago the people started a huge fire and the fire department had to be called in to fight it.”

He said the homeless were rowdy, aggressive and intimidating.

“The dogs in this area are forever barking because they feel intimidated.”

Another complaint came from Barry Momberg, a congregational manager of AFM Houtkruis, who represented the church at the meeting.

He said their problem was the nearby plot.

“The noise that comes from that building disrupts our services on Wednesdays and Sundays,” said Momberg.

Silverton CPF public relations officer Young Pretorius said he hoped something positive would come out of the meeting.

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Felicia Nkhwashu

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