Concerns have been raised by residents over a possible squatter camp at Silverhurst Greenbelt in Constantia.
It is suspected that the occupants sneak into their shelters, which are fairly deep under the bushes along the river, after hours and leave early in the morning. This comes after the resident who discovered the squatters on Sunday 25 March, Shannon Maxwell, says her attempts to investigate these people have shown that no-one is around most of the time during the day.
The only time she managed to see that there are actually people living there was when she spotted a couple sitting by their wood fire, busy cooking.
“I do not know how many people are living there. I think maybe only one elderly couple whom we saw when walking there one evening. They were sitting around a fire cooking something. It appears as if during the day there is no-one there.
“I doubt they are a threat to anyone in the community, they just want a place to stay, but it is a health hazard and the litter is quite unacceptable,” says Maxwell.
She says although she believes they are no threat to the community, she is worried about the “unbelievable amount of litter, plastic bottles, wrappers, rubbish, empty liquor bottles, old pool chemical containers and a completely random assortment of junk objects lying around.
“Also, due to the lack of an ablution facility, this is obviously the place where it all happens, which is what led me to the camp in the first place as my dog rolled in some human faeces alongside the camp.”
Maxwell says she immediately informed the City of Cape Town in hopes that vast solutions would be implemented, but to no avail. She says the issue of homeless people now needs a strategic plan from the officials because it has become difficult for residents to help them through shelter vouchers.
Maxwell says she has experienced a situation where homeless people refused the vouchers because they do not want to live by the rules. “I have had shelter vouchers in my car to hand out to homeless people and quite a few say no, they do not want them. Most people do not want to live in a shelter because there are too many rules and regulations and little freedom. And a shelter is not a long-term solution as far as I understand. The solution to the problem lies totally in money to provide a home, ablution facilities, a job, and ultimately to regain some self-respect.”