Joint operation to clear land at Bellville station

Homeless people illegally squatting on City-owned property close to Bellville station were removed during a joint operation in Bellville last week.

The operation, on Thursday June 29, was aimed at removing the remaining squatters and their illegal structures from a parking lot in South Street.

Siyabulela Mamkeli, Mayoral committee member for area central, said the City had given those sleeping in the parking area 21 days to find an alternative space.

Bellville police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Henrietta van Niekerk said most of the homeless people started removing their belongings when they were notified and that the operation on the day was simply to remove the remaining squatters and structures. Warrant Officer Van Niekerk said cars left in the parking area overnight had also been a problem.

When Northern News accompanied police on the day, a small group of squatters were removing their belongings just after 7am.

Warrant Officer Van Niekerk said the area not only posed a health risk but was a cause for concern for the police, with criminals often using the area to hide out.

She said there had been about 42 homeless people sleeping in the parking lot with most of them being elderly.

It was, however, those criminal elements that come into the area at night, who were a concern.

Mr Mamkeli said the property had since been leased to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) – on condition that the City cleared the area of those who were illegally on the property.

“The property is now leased by Prasa and they will monitor the area and remove any further structures,” he said.

Officials of Prasa, Law Enforcement and the Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District were part of the operation.