Reitumetse Mahope
2 minute read
21 May 2020
10:33 am

Tshwane homeless people’s lives change for the better

Reitumetse Mahope

The positives include cleanliness, social skills, employment and leadership skills.

Mandla Nkomo. Photo: Ron Sibiya

After being in lockdown for several weeks at various facilities in the city, the situation for the homeless has changed for the better, according to Tshwane metro.

Tshwane metro spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said that since lockdown, no homeless person living in their shelters had contracted or showed Covid-19 symptoms, reports Rekord Centurion.

“The homeless were placed in various temporary sites, which the metro has established in partnership with NGOs.”

Mashigo said there were currently 24 homeless sites across all the seven regions of the metro which were activated.

“There are over 1,900 people who have been placed at various sites. The people have been placed according to their respective situations. For instance, there are sites which were set aside for people who are abusing substances so they can get specific services.”

Jan Nieuwenhuys. Photo: Ron Sibiya

He said sites included Lyttleton Sports Park and Lucas van der Berg/Transoranje shelters among others.

Mashigo said from the thousands placed in various shelters, “many homeless people have changed for the better”.

He said positives included cleanliness, social skills, some homeless getting employment and leadership skills.

Mashigo said a few of the homeless, who were using drugs, also either had to quit or were recovering from substance abuse.

“Some of the homeless have since been reunited with families.”

He said the skills for the homeless was made possible as the metro was working with various NGOs.

“The metro is working with various stakeholders and service providers who have freely availed their services to the homeless.”

He said skills training on-site included life skills such as problem-solving, conflict management, communication skills, photography, exercises and dancing.

This comes after in March, it was alleged tensions were running high at Caledonian Stadium in Pretoria CBD as the homeless kept at the stadium under Covid-19 regulations were protesting, demanding running water, “better food” and blankets.

A resident, who wanted to remain anonymous, claimed groups of homeless people were just rounded up and left at the stadium in their numbers by Tshwane officials.

She alleged that there were too many people with too little space at the stadium.

“An NGO trying to feed them says it is a mess, there is no social distancing, they are fighting for food and women and children are crying.

However, in April, the Tshwane metro authorities responded to mounting fears and admitted that it was not prepared for the influx of the homeless in the city.

The stadium has since been fully decanted as it was used as a screening area for the homeless and substance abusers.

Prosper Gumede. Photo: Ron Sibiya

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.