Cape Town - Sunningdale residents near Table View say they are at their wits’ end with what they claim is harassment and intimidation by homeless people who have taken up space on the green belt next to the private Blaauwberg Hospital.
Residents say that for the past month, this has been increasing exponentially and is getting out of hand with the homeless people getting vulgar, aggressive and throwing stones at residents.
One of the residents, who asked not to be named for fear of further intimidation, said something needed to be done urgently before someone innocent got hurt.
“Last Saturday night we heard a noise against the wall and when my wife stood up on the bricks we realised that it was a vagrant putting up a trolley.
“She asked them to not sleep there and said that they must go away. He swore at her and started throwing bricks at us. They have camped by the bus stop and the West Coast Village mall, and when one drives past they drop their pants and show you the middle finger,” he said.
Table View Ratepayers and Residents Association chairperson Mandy da Matta said since the advent of Covid-19 the number of homeless people has increased exponentially in the suburbs around Table View.
“It is now a free-for-all.
“A two-tiered legal system is now applicable for residents who are law-abiding and pay their rates and taxes and a completely separate set of rules for those individuals who flagrantly disregard the rule of law,” she said.
Da Matta said the national government needed to “pull itself towards itself” as it was its duty to provide housing, safety and security.
“Why is the national government handcuffing the hands and feet of the provincial and local governments to do something constructive about our homeless/vagrancy epidemic?
“And why should ratepayers subsidise free-loading people who are destroying the environment with their unlawful behaviour?” she said.
Homeless people activist Carlos Mesquita said there have been new people on the streets since Covid-19 but the number was not as high.
He said before Covid-19 and Strandfontein there was a huge number of undocumented and uncounted homeless people who lived in the suburbs but had hidden to avoid detection and thus trouble.
Ward councillor Paul Swart said with the State of Disaster and the pending court cases against the City, law enforcement was not able to evict homeless people. Swartz said offers of shelters were made but these were refused.