109 01/08/2012 Some of the men who live on the Braamfontein spruit on the corner of William Nicol and Sandton Drive can be seen sifting through the goods that they collect for recycling. Picture: Ihsaan Haffejee

SQUATTERS living along the Braamfontein Spruit in Glenadrienne, Sandton, are polluting the river and making a nuisance of themselves.

They are running an informal rubbish recycling business along the riverbanks, where they have lined up bags of plastic bottles and cans.

Whatever rubbish is not used is dumped into the river.

About 30 people have made their home on the riverbanks. They also use the river water for washing and ablutions.

Corne van der Westhuizen, who works in the area, said the state of the riverbanks was disgusting.

“We have been complaining about this since 2009. The council keeps promising to sort the problem out, but does nothing.

“We had a few phone calls, with answers that ‘we will see what we can do’. They said they would relocate these people, but the problem is getting worse – the piles of rubbish keep getting bigger and the river fuller and fuller of rubbish.”

The squatters are seen pushing their trolleys full of recyclable materials into the bushes where they sort them.

Van der Westhuizen said the metro police had done several raids and burnt all the bags of rubbish and other stuff stored there, but soon after the clean-up is completed, the offenders return and continue with their operations.

“As soon as the metro police stop here, the vagrants flee into the bushes, but in the late afternoon, they are all back,” she said.

The metro police said they conducted raids regularly, but could not monitor the area 24 hours a day.

The City of Joburg did not respond to a request for comment.