Police raid ‘Whoonga Park’

2014-07-04 00:00

PLUMES of smoke rose from Botha Park in central Durban after police officers swooped down on hundreds of vagrants.

The park is a haven for illegal immigrants and homeless people, many of whom are understood to be users of the illicit drug Whoonga.

Nearly 40 people who had been living in the park where arrested after they were ­encircled by masses of police.

The joint operation by the South African Police Service and Metro Police was in ­response to an upsurge in crime in the inner city. Those detained were searched by ­police, who also checked fingerprints against a national criminal database.

Several people in handcuffs were led from police transport trucks inside the station to be searched and checked. Durban Solid Waste officials gathered bails of refuse which were set alight.

A Metro Police officer, who could not be named as he is not authorised to speak to the press, said that the operation was the first step in reclaiming the public space.

He added that the park would be an ­object of constant focus.

The raid comes after a vigilante mob last month overran the park and it’s occupants, leaving scores injured.

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