#EditorsNote: Time to halt the lawlessness in Blikkiesdorp

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OPINION / 15 OCTOBER 2018, 12:30PM / AZIZ HARTLEY

RESIDENTS of Blikkesdorp are living on a knifes-edge as the clock ticks for the 9 families living in the Methodist church to find alternative accommodation. Photograph: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)

Thirty Blikkiesdorp residents, including young children, took refuge in a church. They fled the area in fear of being killed.

The authorities must address this very serious situation urgently. Blikkiesdorp was established as a temporary relocation area in 2007. It was meant to accommodate a few hundred backyard dwellers who had illegally occupied houses constructed under the N2 Gateway project.

Then-DA councillor Frank Martin “led” the invasion after it became clear “his people” – applicants on the housing waiting list for years – were being overlooked. Martin was subsequently fired. Blikkiesdorp, as its first residents dubbed it, has since morphed into a shanty town. It accommodates thousands who are waiting for homes. Residents described it as a hell-hole.

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WATCH: Blikkiesdorp families take refuge in church as they flee violence

There’s nothing temporary about Blikkiesdorp any more. Crime is out of control. A new phenomenon has reared its head. Vigilantes who ostensibly want to drive out drug lords and gangsters are terrorising some residents with the intention of replacing them on the housing list.

Residents say four people were killed in the space of a week. Dwellings have been destroyed. This lawlessness must be stopped immediately.

Soon-to-be-mayor Dan Plato held the housing portfolio at the time and was instrumental in setting up Blikkiesdorp. The City must take charge of Blikkiesdorp and the police must make arrests. Nobody must be allowed to exploit the housing crisis.

The last thing needed is for families with children to run for their lives.

Peac

* Aziz Hartley, Cape Argus editor.

** To comment on this story, write to arglet@inl.co.za. Responses must include full names, addresses, and contact details (not for publication).

 @TheCapeArgus

Cape Argus

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