There might be hope for business owners on West Street in Kempton Park CBD who are at their wits’ end about squatters opposite their businesses. According to Themba Gadebe, metro spokesperson, the informal occupants of a brick building on West Street will be removed as the property belongs to the City of Ekurhuleni.
“The occupants have been removed several times by the EMPD but they keep coming back,” Gadebe said.
“We will immediately alert the metro police to remove them.” Gadebe added that the neglected brick building had been reported before, but there are procedures to follow before a structure in the city can be demolished.
“The report has been approved and now we are waiting for a demolishing certificate from city planning.”
This response from the municipality comes after business owners on West Street approached Express about the issue.
One such business owner is Astrid Wright, who painted a picture of uncut grass and garbage littering the property close to her own business. Despite multiple complaints to the municipality and ward councillor, Wright said this had gone on since last year.
“When I lock up on weekdays, I have to ask people to stay behind, as I fear for my life.”
Allan Fletcher, who rents out properties on West Street, said people were complaining that they felt threatened to pass the occupied area.
“Something needs to be done, as soon as possible.”
Fletcher said he complained to ward councillor Simon Lapping multiple times “but he just passes it along.”
Lapping did, however, respond to Express’ enquiries. He blames the issue on poor management by Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina, who last year promised residents and businesses in the CBD that more patrollers would be employed.
“He also made a commitment that municipal services would be restored. Clearly, he has not put his money where his mouth is.”
Referring to the issue of garbage littering the area, Lapping said the Kempton Park waste department was dysfunctional.
“Residents all over Kempton are resorting to cutting the grass themselves.”
According to Gadebe, the land is maintained and was recently fenced.
“We will immediately attend to is as soon as we receive the new budget.”