Homeless society comes under scrutiny

One of the shelters on the vacant plot of land along Sutherland Street, Paradise.

Newcastle’s homeless community lives hidden from prying eyes, but seems to be a thorn in the side of many a resident.

Boet Buys, chairman of the Oval Track committee, is perturbed by the destitute living under the Hardwick Street Bridge, near the Oval Track.

“They have broken into the Oval Track several times and our ticket office has been stripped of all wires, plugs and light fixtures. One of the homeless men said he could show the Oval Track committee which of the homeless people were responsible for the burglaries, but he said he feared for his life,” Mr Buys said.

Mr Buys said it was imperative that steps be taken to remove them from the bridge.

“Not only do they contribute to crime in the area, but they also urinate and dump all their rubbish in the river,” he claimed.

It seems the Hardwick Street Bridge was not the only place where the homeless have sought refuge.

A group of men have set up makeshift shelters along Sutherland Street, Paradise.

Hidden behind trees and shrubbery, the men have discarded litter and scrap metal.

“I have not received any complaints about them yet, but they need to go,” said Mark Jacobs from Two Eagles Security in Paradise.

Ward 4 Councillor, Bertie Meiring, undertook to investigate the situation regarding the homeless living in Paradise.

“I have received no complaints about them, but I heard the land where they are staying is private property. If it is indeed owned by someone, there is nothing we can do about it,” he said.

“I will see if the land is indeed private property and take the matter up with the owner.”

The municipality was contacted for comment, but none was forthcoming at the time of going to print.

Quinton Boucher

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