North Coast Road bridge dwellers a concern

Ward 34 councillor, Bobby Maharajh, points to one of the spots where the homeless people used to live.
Ward 34 councillor, Bobby Maharajh, points to one of the spots where the homeless people used to live.

BOBBY Maharajh, ward 34 councillor, has expressed his concern over a number of people sleeping under bridges over Chris Hani (North Coast) Road. When Northglen News and Maharajh visited the scene, we found makeshift beds, washing lines and several blankets. The residents living under the bridge light fires every night which are visible from the roadside. Parts of the concrete at the site have started breaking down while the underside of the bridge has turned black from the soot.

It’s believed the homeless people are from the KwaMathambo Informal Settlement. When a devastating fire tore through the settlement in August 2013, gutting more than 270 shacks and leaving hundreds of people homeless, the municipality promised to build houses for the community.

According to some of the residents at the settlement, some of those who were left homeless, have been forced to live under the bridge opposite the settlement.

“It is concerning, not just for their safety but also for the bridge structural integrity. I was aware that people had previously been living under railway bridge because it’s more exposed to the elements. For a while I’ve been trying to figure out who was using an illegal water connection which was near the settlement. It was shut off and later reconnected and now I know where the water is going,” he said.

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