Shelter for homeless during lockdown

Homeless people can seek temporary shelter at the Strandfontein sports complex during the 21-day Covid-19 lockdown where a tent has been pitched.

Elton Jansen, councillor for Ward 43 (Strandfontein and parts of Weltevreden Valley and Philippi) and chairman of Sub-council 23, said the site was identified because of its security, and boundary fencing to better control crowds.

“It will be a temporary site while they prepare the other sites during this lockdown period to ensure that street people don’t roam around,” he said.

At the time of printing Mr Jansen was busy securing shelter for at least two people living on the street in Strandfontein.

“This is not for the street people in central Cape Town. They were sorted out at other facilities and under the Culemborg bridge in town.”

He said there would be law enforcement and SAPS were informed so people do not roam around in the area.

The army would also regularly patrol the area and the site.

Ablution facilities and water tankers would be made available to the people while partner non-government organisations (NGOs) would feed the people.

Mr Jansen said as and when the other facilities were ready, they would be moved to the other facilities.

“I am also working with NGO partners 9Miles and Hope Southern Africa (HOSA) who will be feeding the most vulnerable in the informal settlements. I have asked for donations from the farmers in the Philippi horticultural area, which will be distributed to the NGOs to prepare food so that informal settlement people do not roam around in the area.

“We are in this together and we are trying to assist the most vulnerable as best we can to curb the spread of this virus,” said Mr Jansen.

Dr Zahid Badroodien, mayoral committee member for community services and health, said in a media statement on Saturday March 28 that the central business district (CBD) temporary shelter, known as the Culemborg Safe Space, was the first site to be up and running.

Tents were erected, along with sanitation facilities and appropriate social distancing measures were implemented.

The City’s law enforcement department escorts people to the site.

City Health is also on site to screen individuals and ensure that they are not presenting symptoms of Covid-19.

He said work was also under way at the Paint City site in Bellville and it should be accessible within the next three to five days.

The City is undertaking to make available sites in all four geographical areas within the next week, where street people can be housed during the lockdown.

Dr Badroodien said the search for temporary shelter was taking some time after initial sites identified by the national government were subsequently withdrawn.

“We understand that there has been immense interest in this particular issue, and we assure the public that we are doing everything possible to provide safe spaces for our street people during this challenging time,” he said.

Numerous other options were being considered, but had not been finalised as the spaces were not readily available for habitation without extensive work being carried out first.

Dr Badroodien said the City would provide updates on the situation as these became available. “But we would like to emphasise that it is a matter we take very seriously and we are working furiously to bring to resolution,” he said.