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Dashed aspirations beset Allen following eviction

Allen Kruger, whose story moved many Albertonians, has one thread that connects him closer to his aspirations taken from him.

Even in the face of adversity, Allen Kruger continues to sport a smile.

The 33-year-old, who was once lost in the grips of addiction and was steadily finding his feet, has cried foul after getting a third visit from the EMPD.

Though his story is one of redemption, resilience and a connection to a higher calling, it has been met with mixed reactions from the community.

At the intersection of Heidelberg and Ascot roads, opposite Lemon Tree Shopping Centre, he sells or trades various plants.

For Allen, this is more than just his way of making ends meet, but also his way of showing people hope. He says, “Parents should not give up on their children because of their drug problem”.

As a way of correcting his mistakes in life, selling the plants is like his little white stone in life and he hopes to inspire others to get back up and forge ahead.

He said his focus was to teach youngsters to plant, teaching them to nurture life.

A resident, Kobus Eagar, who frequently visits Allen, described him as a kind-hearted person and commended him for trying his best to make a living.

Major setback

Allen said this was the third time the EMPD had taken all his belongings.

EMPD confiscates Allen Kruger’s items during an operation. Photo: EMPD

“In December last year, just seven days before Christmas, they took my stuff. And paying it out is not worth it because they damage everything. They make sure that you cannot stand on your feet again. In the heat of the moment you cannot do much because when the Lord gives you humbleness all you can do is be humble,” he explained.

He said they took at least 495 pot plants and all his empty plant pots, dog kennel and dog food.

“It doesn’t help telling drug addicts to come right and as soon as they do, you still break the thread. This will discourage addicts from wanting to do the right thing.

“It is as if the government is forcing us back into crime. After they took my stuff, there were at least 45 cars that stopped yesterday from concerned community members,” Allen said.

After the ordeal, all he wanted to do was take his dog, Abune, and his clothes and leave, but the community stood by him.

“The whole community is angrier than me; this is their community project”.

It has been seven months that Allen has been drug-free and he is determined to live a clean life.

Following a visit from the EMPD, he said: “The God that I serve is the same God that split the sea.”

Mixed reactions

A property owner in the area shared similar sentiments, stating that she finds this situation insupportable.

Allen Kruger after his eviction.

“I appreciate that he is a crystal meth addict and is striving to improve his life despite the challenges of being homeless. His efforts to rectify past mistakes before reuniting with his family are commendable.

“Caution is necessary, as there could be a risk of yet an additional informal settlement emerging, potentially involving drug activity (if it hasn’t already), increased transient activity, improper waste disposal and litter, a decrease in property values, community cohesion as well as attracting criminal elements and let’s not forget the health issues,” she said.

She said a proper solution should be devised, keeping in mind people’s health and the environment.

“Many had the misfortune of losing their businesses and homes during the recession, due to no fault or choice of their own. This doesn’t inherently entitle everyone to sell plants and live in a tent as an itinerant, or does it?

“I invite the ‘enablers’ to devise a solution that inspires and motivates this man to sell his plants in a premises or market, while simultaneously ensuring a secure and comfortable home for him – a win-win situation for everyone involved,” she said.

Intervention needed

“EMPD Alberton precinct officers held an operation on June 26, between 06:00 and 10:45 where all the illegally erected structures were demolished, building material and everything else found on site, were confiscated within that vicinity,” said EMPD spokesperson Kelebogile Thepa.

She said this act is seen in the same light as land invasion and they thus treat it with the same disdain. Thepa said they will monitor the said space and ensure no structure is to be erected again.

“We commit to demolish illegal structures erected and chase away people attempting land invasion. We would appreciate the intervention of other stakeholders. In that way, a relevant department would have assisted in taking in the homeless and offering them shelter and if there was any criminal activity, SAPS would also assist,” she said.

She said they are trying to manage homelessness in Alberton, but really need the intervention of other stakeholders.

ALSO READ: Alberton based Allen Kruger’s inspiring journey of resilience and hope

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