Vagrants outside police station

Vagrants camp outside the police station.
The Brackenfell Community Policing Forum committee says homeless sleeping outside the Brackenfell police station are posing a safety threat to residents who are willingly reporting crimes.

Brackenfell CPF spokesman, Gary Meyer said Brackenfell police station should be a safe place for residents to visit, however, he said with the vagrants have placed fear in residents.

 Not only residents who visit the police station but those who walk their dogs or cycle along the Brackenfell Boulevard.

“You can’t feel safe there, imagine pulling up to a police station where you are heading to report crime and here comes along strange faces to pester you,” said Mr Meyer.

Mr Meyer said they fear that the vagrants will start putting up shacks in the parking area.

Northern News visited the Brackenfell police station parking area on Friday November 2, six beds and blankets were lined up against the wall of the Gene Louw Traffic College on the Brackenfell Boulevard.

Hannolene Andries, one of the woman living in the parking area said she is aware of residents who are not pleased with them occupying the space but said she feels safe sleeping close to the police station.

She said residents are spreading rumours about the vagrants pestering them and found it confusing that they are being offered food and groceries from residents, daily.

Pointing to a box filled with groceries, she said, “If the people has a problem with us living here, why do they bring us food, clothes and blankets?”

She said they have been living there for just over two years and have never been removed from the area, however, she said they have been warned that if the area becomes dirty and the number of them living there increases, they would have to move.

“This is my safe place, the police knows us and are kind to us. The only problem they have is when we drink but we do not perform with them we watch their cars and they give us some change,” she said.

Asked where they do their dishes or wash themselves, she said with the money they get from guarding the cars, they buy water and each one takes a turn to hold up a blanket while the other is washing themselves.

In September, Northern News reported that a new safe place for the homeless is planned for the Brackenfell community but needs public support to complete the 1.5 million project.( “Place of safety on the cards for homeless”, Northern News, September 12.)

Vanessa Booysen said she was put on the street by her family and decided to live in the parking lot but she refuses to go to a shelter.

“A shelter is not a place for people, it is a place for animals. I lived at the Haven Night shelter in Kraaifontein for three months and there they hit me and kicked me, also they promised to help me find a job but they did not.”

She said she despite the good food a shelter provided, there is no control over who drunkards or violent people who lash out at others.

“I do not want to move, we have nowhere to go,” she said.

Brackenfell police spokesperson Captain Crouse said they are aware of  the eight homeless people living in the parking area and said meetings between the Gene Louw traffic Department, the Brackenfell cpf and Kraaifontein SAPS are set to take place later this week.

Gene Louw traffic Department, Johan Van der Merwe invited Northern News to a meeting earlier this week.