Vagrants squat at Blouberg playpark

This beachfront playpark in Blouberg was taken over by vagrants

The occupation of a children’s playpark by vagrants on the Blouberg beachfront has drawn an angry response from the public.

Residents said that around 10 to 15 vagrants could be seen at different times of the day at the park.

The City has since moved the vagrants, but residents and beachgoers feel it is symptomatic of a general decline in the area.

Anthea Correia, of Table View, said she was appalled each time she visited the beach.

“It is a dreadful sight whenever we go to the beach driving down Marine Drive. The vagrants have made the area their home. This is a real eyesore. The place smells of urine and human waste because they relieve themselves anywhere they please.

“People are quick to judge residents that live in this area who don’t want vagrants, but what can they do when these vagrants keep making the place dirty? Property values will go down and people will avoid our beautiful area like the plague.”

Another resident, Jonathan Scott, said that he couldn’t wait for a planned R100 million beach upgrades to commence (“Big changes for Table View beachfront, says City,” Tabletalk, September 6, 2023).

“Maybe when the upgrades start, we will have fewer vagrants squatting here because of the constant construction that will be taking place here.

“However, I feel like these vagrants will just move to another area within Blouberg and Table View. There is a constant begging at every traffic light in the community. Parents are begging in the sun with small children, and that should be criminal. It is child abuse. And then we have beggars and the homeless on Sandown Road near West Coast Village. Our area is going down fast, and the City needs to step up and do something.”

City Law Enforcement spokesman Wayne Dyason said officers had responded to recent complaints and cleared vagrants from the Blouberg Beach area along Marine Drive on Monday January 8.

In a City statement sent to Tabletalk, mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said the City had recently spent R500 000 on beds for the Haven Night Shelter in the hope of getting more homeless people off the streets.

“The City further dispersed R8.4m in grants-in-aid funding to NPOs offering transitional shelter and developmental programmes in 2022/23. Besides our support for NPOs, the City will spend R230 million over three years to expand and operate our own Safe Space transitional shelters. These facilities currently offer around 700 beds in the CBD and Bellville, along with a range of social interventions to reintegrate people into society. A proposed 300-bed Safe Space in Green Point is also currently in the planning appeals phase,” he said.

Mr Hill-Lewis said no one should suffer the indignity of living on the streets. “But at the same time, no one has the right to unlawfully reserve public space for their exclusive use while indefinitely refusing all offers of shelter and support.”

City Law Enforcement removed the vagrants on Monday after residents complained.