Scottsdene residents remove homeless structures

Residents from various parts of Scottsdene came to break down shacks in Chime Street.

Angry residents tore down shacks in Scottsdene last Friday, scuttling any hopes five squatter families might still have had of getting homes at a nearby housing development.

More than 200 residents marched down Chime Street – more commonly known as Long Street by locals – knocking down the last six of 300 shacks built by some of the 500 people evicted from the unfinished Sunset Village flats in April last year.

The evictees built shacks on a pavement near the Calgro M3 development hoping to be considered for housing (“Squatters vow to stay put,” Northern News, May 23).

Now all the shacks are gone and on Saturday August 3, the last of the squatters packed up and left, back to the life of being backyarders.

The residents, who tore down the shacks did not want to be named, but they claimed the squatters had been attracting “the wrong crowd” because people had been getting robbed on their way to work and drugs had been sold from the empty shacks.

A Sunset Village resident said he feared for his life when walking to get a taxi to work because his daughter had been robbed twice in one month.

He claimed the culprits had hid in the shacks, threatening to kill passers-by who didn’t surrender their belongings.

“They are looking for prey when people leave their homes in the early hours. My daughter was robbed two weeks ago and again yesterday by people hiding in the empty shacks. I feel sorry for the innocent children who had to sleep in the cold, but this can’t go on,” he said.

Residents cleared the shacks of the squatters’ belongings before knocking them down.

Loriaan Croy, who was a squatter in the street, said she had moved back to her separate entrance in Scottsdene the night before residents broke down shacks after hearing about what was going to happen.

She sent Northern News a picture of two children between 2 and 3-years old whom she said had spent Friday night August 2, sleeping on a bag of clothes in the open.

Ms Croy said she had “finally realised that she would not be considered for a home” at the Sunset Village flats.

Most of the shacks had been empty apart from a few holdouts, she said.  

“Backyarders must realise that they cannot jump the queue for the City’s housing list and Calgaro’s list, just like other people we have to wait for our chance,” she said.

Mayco member for urban management and Ward 7 councillor, Grant Twigg, said daily muggings in the street and an attempted rape had angered residents.

“Most of the people have moved from the street, while others are hoping to benefit from houses,” he said. Mr Twigg said he received messages daily from people who said they would not give up the fight.

Kraaifontein police spokesman, Captain Hein Hendricks, said no crime had been reported in the street for the past month.

“People in our community don’t report crimes. They take matters into their own hands,” he said.

“We have no record of reported robberies, drug dealing and attempted rape. We urge the community to report these crimes.”