Residents of E Section in Khayelitsha are at their wits’ end about the troubles they say the new shack neighbours have brought into their area.
The irked residents of erf number E793 are complaining about noisy shack dwellers, crime, and threats apparently levelled at those who complain.
Among the areas where shacks have been erected is a site earmarked for a clinic.
E Section residents who asked not to be identified for fear of being victimised called Vukani to highlight the problem and point out people who, they say, have formal houses but have built shacks which they rent out – some to Somalian shopkeepers.
One local leader said the noise from the shacks was unbearable and causing them to have sleepless nights.
“The problems began when our own residents started building shacks here. They start building from midnight. There is no sleep here. There are also screams of women. It is chaotic. We have complained to the City’s Law Enforcement several times but we are told they cannot act because of the Covid-19 regulations,” she said.
The complainants also claim they were threatened when they complained about the noise. “We are at risk here. The kids’ park is used as the warehouse of shacks. Our children are no longer playing in it for fear of the unknown. We cannot risk our children for we do not know what these people are capable of,” she said.
She said the construction of the shacks at E793 erf is being spearheaded by a group of seniors – four women and man – who all own formal houses.
She said Law Enforcement has the details of all their complaints.
“We want the City to put fences around here or build a wall. If not so, they can take them to iLitha Park because one of the leaders of this is from iLitha Park. Why must iLitha Park be clean while our area is infested with shacks?” she asked.
Another complainant also accused the shack dwellers of urinating in front of their yards and said residents were afraid that they would start seeing more criminal incidents in the area, including break-ins.
The neighbours are also afraid of break-ins. “We have discovered that some of the shacks have no occupants. That is scary. They might be using them to put stolen goods in them who knows. These will turn into slaughter houses. We have tried to put some structures down but they came back to rebuild them and threatened us with guns,” he said.
This, however, had not been reported to the police.
When Vukani approached the City’s Law Enforcement, spokesman Wayne Dyason said they did not remove shacks as this was the responsibility of the City’s Human Settlements department.
One of the accused leaders in the area who would only identify herself as Mambhele said while she was among those who had erected a shack, she denied “spearheading” the construction of shacks in the area.
“I do not remember leading people to put structures here, all I know is that I am a resident here. There is no way that you can tell people what to do, people do what they like. We have put structures because we have no place. Other people have done the same. That is all I can tell you,” she told Vukani.
Vukani was unable to get additional comment from the City or police by the time this story was published.