Displaced people erect homes along Smit Street in Fairland

Displaced people sleep on this property.

Residents expressed their concern on social media with regards to displaced people who occupy an open veld that borders Wesbank.

The displaced people have been spotted carrying items to erect homes along Smit Street in Fairland.

Fairland Police Station’s Captain Patrick Sejang said that they are aware of the homes being built in the veld by displaced people. There is currently a joint operation with the Metro police, ward councillors and home affairs.

“We hope home affairs can also intervene to help find homes or shelters that the squatters can be moved to. We are busy organising an operation this week and hope to relocate them by this Friday, if all goes well. Residents have complained about crime in their area and are concerned about their safety,” said Sejang.

Displaced people sleep and make food in the open veld.

Residents are not the only people who are concerned about the displaced people. A security company that has been hired to guard the spot where people gain access to the abandoned property is also concerned about the situation.

Security officers stands at one of the entrances where displaced people gain entry onto a property in Fairland.

Reaction officer Mandla Khulane said he has worked for the security company since September last year and was made aware of the dwellers in the veld when he started working in the area. When he was assigned to monitor cable theft, he noticed people coming in and out of the property.

He added that he believes the best solution would be to relocate the displaced people to a different location or a shelter.

A group of people sleep in the open veld.

Meanwhile, Metro police chief superintendent Wayne Minnaar said that no one is permitted to put up a structure on land or property that has not been purchased or hired.

“The Department of Social Services is responsible for providing homes for displaced people. The Metro police and police will work together to remove them from the property. At his stage, we cannot confirm when exactly they will be moved,” concluded Minnaar.

A displaced person rests in the area he has made his home.

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Naledi Mokoena

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