Somerset West Lions Club Taken Over by Vagrants

What a shame it is to see the state of Somerset West CBD district. The vagrant problem is getting out of control and residents and business owners have to try put up with the ever growing problem. Not only have they moved into our public areas and vacant car lots they have also taken over the grounds of the Somerset West Lions Club.

Vagrants have destroyed the fences surrounding the Lion's Club and have defiled the grounds with excrement, litter and have even set fire to the bushes. Frequent drunken arguments occur in the grounds and a few weeks ago a woman was severely assaulted inside the Lion's Club at about 11:00 pm at night.

Residents surrounding the Lion's Club have experienced an increase in home break-ins and are at their wits end. Councilor Stuart Pringle (Ward 84 Somerset West) has inspected the grounds and also assisted getting the fire service to put out a fire that a vagrant had caused. He has urged residents in the area not to give hand outs to the vagrants and also advises that Metro Police have a special unit to deal with vagrant issues, however they are currently only available week days during normal office hours.

The SAPS ignores the problem  completely and vagrants have no regard for the law of trespassing, public indecency, drunkenness. It seems it is a social economic problem that is infesting our town. However, we as residents should not ignore the problem as the decay of Somerset West is getting larger.

There are rumors that the land adjoining the Lion's Club was donated to Somerset West by Mrs. Barlow on condition that it would be utilized as a children's play area or park. However it is difficult to ascertain this. Speaking to some of Somerset West's older residents they recall the days of this vacant land been a children's park with swings, slides and even a Steam Engine. Apparently a previous town Councillor decided to demolish the park and instead built a rose garden. The Steam Train was donated to AECI and is currently standing near to the old coal power plant.  If any one knows any thing more about this please let us know.

Sadly, it seems that the problem will be ignored and the decay will continue....

Stephen Leppan


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