[VIDEO] ‘We had to sleep in the rain’

Some of the Burgershoop Cemetery dwellers now sleep in the street outside the cemetery.
Some of the Burgershoop Cemetery dwellers now sleep in the street outside the cemetery.

On Wednesday morning, 9 March, a group of Burgershoop Cemetery informal settlers were “forcibly removed” from the public space by Mogale City officials.

These were the cries of Marie Hann (30) and her fellow cemetery dwellers when the News interviewed them on Thursday afternoon (10 March) on the side of the road while they where drying their clothes and blankets.

Marie Henn and some of her family members had been living in the Burgershoop Cemetery for over three months when they were thrown out in the rain.

Marie Henn and some of her family members have been living in the Burgershoop Cemetery for over three months when they were thrown out in the rain.

“People from Social Services and the Red Ants asked us to leave the cemetery and when we resisted they literally threw us out,” Marie alleged.

All of their belongings, including food and blankets were strewn in the street in front of the cemetery’s entrance. Security guards manned the gate to the empty grounds.

Marie showed the News where she used to sleep between aged gravestones and bushes. Her blankets were burnt, allegedly by Mogale City Local Municipality representatives.

“I was not afraid to sleep here. It’s safe,” she told the News.

Marie grew up in Krugersdorp where she later finished school at Monument High. She said she has been living on the streets for nearly two years and that she has no where else to go.

“And work is very hard to find,” she said.

The cemetery dwellers said they have never been asked to move before Wednesday. On Wednesday night, the group slept in the rain. After midnight came they huddled together under a roof in the cemetery, Marie said.

According to Marie, Sector 5 Community Policing Forum provides them with food every week, but the group of about 12 desperately need dry clothes and blankets after all their belongings got soaked on Wednesday night.

Marie's blankets were burnt when she was "forcefully removed by Mogale City officials".

Marie’s blankets were burnt when she was “forcefully removed by Mogale City officials”.

Marie said they were told the Munsieville informal settlement, that now houses previous Coronation Park’s squatters, is full to capacity and therefore they cannot live there either.

The News is still awaiting comment from the municipality.

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  AUTHOR
Chantelle Fourie
Journalist

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