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Athlone vagrants ‘not a nuisance’: Ward councillor

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The ward councilor of the Athlone and Crawford areas has refuted suggestions that vagrants in the area were becoming hostile, resorting to attacking residents and vandalizing the Kromboom road bridge under which many have taken up residence. This comes after reports of several complaints from residents in the vicinity, who have branded the homeless individuals a ‘nuisance’ and a risk to the safety of community members.

But councilor for the ward 48, Magedien Davids, rejected those suggestions insisting that the vagrants were harmless. He further denied receiving any complaints from residents on the issue, stressing that action would be taken if they proved to be hostile towards resident.

“If I did have reports like that, I would have sent the SAPS (South African Police Services) onto these people. But up until now the Crawford Association hasn’t heard any reports on the vagrants issue,” he stated.

Vagrants who have occupied the bottom section of the Kromboom Bridge, has been a long standing issue in the area. The bridge forms part of ward 48 as well as ward 60, the latter being situated on the opposite side of the bridge.

Davids noted they had on several occasions sought to limit access to the bottom part of the bridge, in the hopes of barring access for the vagrants. However, due to the City of Cape Town’s refusal to close a nearby subway, the vagrants were still being allowed access to the site.

Despite this, he said they would be attempting to have the individuals in question relocated out of the area.

“On Friday we will send out the law enforcements and social development people to do some assessments. We’ve got an Assessment Centre at the end of Lawrence Road in Athlone, and these social development people will take the vagrants names, where they come from, and decide how they can be relocated back,” he said.

With the issue of vagrants a notable problem in the area, he called for patience on the part of residents, stating that they could not simply be “wished-away”.

“They are also human, and we do have to do this humanely and in a dignified manner,” he stressed. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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