Parklands and surrounds were given a clean sweep during a community cleanup that took place on Saturday 3 August.
Leading the Community Cleanup project was project coordinator Nick Long who told the team to be safe and advised them not to touch anything without gloves.
The clean-up is done biweekly, tackling the hotspots and it is a project driven by the Table View community policing forum (CPF). They work together with Law Enforcement as well as the Displaced People’s Unit as well as Social Services.
Starting at Via Firenza opposite the Caltex garage, the team found one vagrant with a traffic sign next to him.
They also cleaned Albany Park, Leonardo Park, Chad’s Walk among other areas. Long says people need to understand the difference between the homeless and the vagrants.
“The area where the homeless stay is clean and tidy, they just don’t have anywhere to go. But with the vagrants, it is always a mess. We have several vagrants in this area and these are the people that have been chased away from their homes or families because of a drug or an alcohol problem,” he says adding that most of the vagrants in that area are from Atlantis.
“The vagrants take stuff out of the bins and don’t clean the area,” he says, mentioning that as they do the clean-up they find stuff that is private property belonging to shops or council.
During the clean-up, they found several trollies.
“We can’t take their stuff, that is against the law. That is theirs. We don’t touch their blankets or anything that belongs to them,” Long says.
Christo Cilliers, a resident says he is taking part in the clean up as he believes in the broken window theory. He says he believes the area must be kept clean so that it deters any sort of unwanted elements. “If we keep it clean we won’t have a problem. I have been doing this for a couple of months.”
Cilliers adds that things they come across while doing the clean up are gross. “Rotten food, bacon, meat and fruit. You won’t believe the things that they keep. It smells bad and it is really difficult to clean because it is very dirty but it has to be done,” he says.
Wendy Robertson, Community Cleanup administration and liaison officer says they had to bring in the other departments as they wanted to be guided by the by-laws. “This was also a way to help us to do things the right way and not be perceived as a vigilante. Things are working nicely and now resources are available for them (street people). There is regular profiling done and they ask what can be done to help these people. Should it be going back home, or the shelter but the answer we get is no because they say they don’t want to live by the rules. At least in the streets, they get to do what they want when they want,” she says.
Robertson adds that doing the cleanup they get a lot of clothes, electrical items, toys and shoes as well.
“The community is not helping. They think by giving to them they are being kind and caring, but they are adding to the problem because they are sustaining them,” she says.
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