Cops nabbed 31 people and confiscated drugs in a pre-dawn raid at an illegal informal settlement in Woodstock, after businesses complained about criminals hiding in the shacks.
Just after 4am yesterday, Woodstock SAPS with the help of the Salt River Neighbourhood Watch and officials from Prasa and the Department of Correctional Services swooped on the Masicani informal settlement located along the N1 highway in Woodstock Industria.
Police say the area has become a hotspot for drug trafficking and prostitution, while several train commuters have also been robbed and assaulted in the area.
Woodstock SAPS spokesman Sergeant Neville Malila says the raid was aimed at removing the land invaders occupying more than 50 shacks on the field belonging to the Passenger Railway Agency of SA.
He says business owners have complained of workers being attacked on their way to the train station.
“Many of the factory workers that use the footbridge get robbed and assaulted,” Malila explains.
About 40 officials were briefed before splitting into five teams manning the streets around the informal settlement to stop suspects from fleeing.
As cops pounced, men and women scattered in all directions.
Some risked their lives running away over the railway lines, while others tried in vain to hide in the uncut grass before being nabbed by wakker cops.
Police searched each of the structures before breaking them down.
Cops hailed the raid as a success, after arresting 31 people for trespassing, and a 53-year-old male in possession of dagga.
Police confiscated a bag of dagga, five mandrax pills, 31 tik lollies and several knives.
Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk says the suspects will appear in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
Malila said this was the third operation of its kind this year, and will be done on a regular basis to combat crime in the area.
But Chantal Marais, the human resources manager of Robertson and Caine, a boat building company opposite Masicani says the raids are of no help, and urged police and Prasa to find a permanent solution.
“It’s rather upsetting cause our employees using the footbridge have been attacked and robbed on numerous occasions. There have been so many raids but a day later they are all back,” she says.
Prasa never responded to Daily Voice queries.