Vagrancy, dumping irk residents

Vagrants leave bags and their belongings in the trees.

Vagrants sleeping rough, dumping their rubbish and relieving themselves in public are spoiling Crawford, say residents.

Tasneem Dawood, who has lived in the area for nine years, says it is sad to see what vagrancy is doing to the community.

The vagrants pitch tents and sleep on Kromboom Road pavements. The road reeks of urine and filth and residents cross the road to avoid it, she says.

The stench was nauseating and people didn’t want to send their children to the nearby shop. The community’s parks were also being destroyed.

“Children can’t play in the parks anymore because all of the equipment is damaged. There are mattresses and blankets on the pavement and rubbish in the trees. No one is doing anything about this. I have been living here for nine years and every time you look it is getting worse. We are paying high rates and taxes here so why must we live in these conditions?”

Ms Dawood said the pavement between Sunnyside and Rockery roads had been dug up seven years ago but no one had repaired it.

That was where vagrancy and dumping were at their worst in the neighbourhood.

She also accused the City of Cape Town of doing nothing to alleviate traffic congestion in Crawford. And residents’ calls some years ago for speed bumps in Kromboom Road had been met with a poor response.

“They put in one speed bump, what was that supposed to do? I told them to make Sunnyside Road a one way up and Burwood Road a one way down. People just park anywhere in the road and it causes chaos for the other drivers not to mention pedestrians.”

A man, who has lived in the area for 23 years but didn’t want his name used, said the vagrants were getting younger and ruder and thought nothing of using open spaces as dumps and toilets.

“The stench of urine in the road is disgusting and they just leave their things in the trees or in people’s gardens. They actually sit and drink under the trees and throw the bottles all over.”

He also complained about the congestion, saying heavy traffic made it a daily struggle to get into Sunnyside Road.

“We can’t come down Sunnyside Road because of trucks that offload at the shops. The truck drivers actually drive over people’s properties because they refuse to stand in so much traffic.”

Crawford ward councillor Mark Kleinschmidt said vagrants kept coming to the area because they became dependent on the hand-outs residents gave them. Residents should rather donate to the Owl Night Shelter in Lansdowne or other accredited shelters or charities.

The homeless were being encouraged to attend the City’s social services upliftment campaign at the Range Road Hall, on Tuesdays at 6pm, to learn basic first aid and fire-fighting as part of the Mayoral Urban Regeneration Programme.

“My ward office will also apply on behalf of the street person for an identity document from Home Affairs.

“We’ve already identified two homeless persons, and the Home Affairs officials have committed to coming to the Ward 60 office to process the documents. Where a street person is blatantly flouting the by-law of the City, such as aggressive and violent behaviour, acts of criminality, defecating and urinating in public, the City’s emergency services must be called,” he said.

You can report such behaviour to the City’s emergency services on 021 480 7700 from a mobile number or 107 from a landline.