Vagrants at every traffic light a concern

One of the vagrants posing in the middle of the road on the corner of Boshoff and Burger streets.PHOTO: lethiwe makhanya
One of the vagrants posing in the middle of the road on the corner of Boshoff and Burger streets.PHOTO: lethiwe makhanya

VAGRANTS begging at almost every traffic light in and around the CBD have raised concerns for residents who now fear for their safety.

Since the Ematsheni Beer Hall was demolished in December 2016, vagrants have relocated into the CBD and more recently, into residential areas just outside the CBD.

New England Road is one of the roads that have become a hot spot for vagrants. They are also on the corner of Townbush Road and McCarthy Drive, Chota Motala bridge, Raisethorpe CBD and Clarendon bridge.

It is alleged that the vagrants target people near the Chota Motala bridge. Apparently they hide under the bridge and then rob people who are returning from the CBD. Similar incidents have been reported at the Clarendon bridge.

Last year in September, Msunduzi Municipality Mayor Themba Njilo said the municipality intends removing all vagrants who live in the CBD, to a rehabilitation centre in Elandskop but this has not happened. Nondumiso Hadebe, who lives in Montrose, said he never had a problem with vagrants before the Ematsheni Beer Hall was demolished.

“Now we cannot even go to Cascades Lifestyle Centre in peace without these vagrants harassing us at the lights. They must be removed,” she said.

A motorist who frequents the Chota Motala intersection said he once saw vagrants rob someone under the bridge. “The man was going to Northdale from town. When we noticed that he was being robbed, we stopped the car to help him. When they [vagrants] saw us coming they ran underneath the bridge and we did not find them. It is only a matter of time before they start robbing motorists too. Something needs to be done before this gets out of hand,” he said.

Lisakhanya Ngcobo, who is a student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said she and her friends used to walk from their residence to Golden Horse Casino but now they have to take a cab because they are scared. “We do not know what these vagrants are going to do to us. We feel as if we are not safe,” she said.

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