THE island at the intersection of Avondale and John Zikhali (Sydenham) Roads in Morningside, which has been occupied by vagrants for the past 15 years, has become a growing problem for residents in the area.
Paddington Mutumbi, the building manager of a block of flats opposite the island in Avondale Road, said every night about 12 vagrants gathered on the island to sleep.
“The men arrive at around 9am each day and spend all day drinking, using the bush as a toilet and then sleep under the tree, leaving their rubbish lying all over. Residents, especially women, are scared when they have to drive into the property when there is a group of drunk men sitting under the tree nearby,” he said.
Mutumbi said he had approached the men to ask them to leave, but they told him that it was municipal property and refused to move.
“We do contact the police about this issue and they do come, but nothing is done to remove them. This has been going on every day for the past 15 years and was featured in Berea Mail a few years ago, but nothing has been done to solve the problem,” he said.
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He said the litter and rubbish left behind by the men was cleared by DSW once a week. “Residents pay their taxes and they have to deal with this. Some action needs to be taken,” he said.
Responding to the complaint, ward councillor Martin Meyer said he had discussed the issue of vagrancy in the area at numerous police meetings.
“SAPS is really trying to move these men and I will be working with the police to find a longer term solution. It is a problem, especially with PRASA moving these men from the railway lines. The number of vagrants keeps increasing and SAPS and Metro are trying to deal with this.”
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