Squatting devalues property

Agi Orfanos, West Beach

More and more people are squatting under the bridge and next to the bridge on Blaauwberg Road just next to the Potsdam bus terminus on land earmarked for a community picnic spot.

The City cannot allow entrances to suburbs and to the Blouberg beachfront to degenerate. Such areas have a high charm and value, and allowing squatting ultimately results in falling municipal values and thus tax earnings by the City to provide for the less privileged.

Several shacks have appeared in this area, and, no doubt, human waste is flowing into the wetlands of Rietvlei along the river and the ocean and needs to be prevented immediately.

Similarly, people are squatting on the verges opposite the fire stations as well as Montague Gardens MyCiTi station.

Suzette Little, mayoral committee member for area north, responds: The City’s social development department recently attended to three complaints in the Montague Gardens, Milnerton area. We offered the street people assistance, but none of them accepted our offers. Unfortunately, we cannot force street people to accept the social services that we offer, which include assistance with obtaining identity documents, social grants, placement in shelters, access to Expanded Public Works Programme opportunities, introduction to substance abuse programmes, and reunification with family.

The City’s law enforcement department regularly removes illegal structures from this area, accompanied by the street people unit who are on hand to provide assistance to street people.

Such operations will continue, including during this week.

Residents can assist by heeding the City’s Give Responsibly Campaign, whereby we ask that donations be made to organisations that assist street people in getting back on their feet, rather than to street people directly.

Donations that are given directly to street people only assist in the short-term and we are therefore asking residents to support us in our long-term goals of providing a hand up.