The Limpopo department of social development has shut down temporary shelters for homeless people in two of the three districts of the province.
The five temporary shelters, which were housing about 500 homeless people, were established in conjunction with local and district municipalities and other relevant departments after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the national lockdown with strict restrictions.
However, social development MEC Nkakareng Rakgoale said yesterday that the majority of the people at the shelters were reunited with their families and that only 55 still remained. She said about 35 were accommodated at the Musina showgrounds, 11 at Thabazimbi and nine at the Polokwane showgrounds.
She said her department had, since the first day of the lockdown, been providing psychosocial support, meals and also reuniting those at the shelters with their families.
“This was to ensure that the homeless do not roam the streets during the first 21-day lockdown period,” said Rakgoale.
“We appreciate all the dedication, hard work and assistance that came from donors, volunteers as well as government employees from various departments, in the smooth running of the shelters.”
Rakgoale, who has been widely praised for doing a sterling work with the poorest of the poor, the displaced and homeless since the lockdown, added that social workers were in the process of conducting exit interviews in terms of the provision of psychosocial support services and that their individual files were due to be closed. The former mayor of Mopani district municipality said caring for the poor was her passion.
“It gives me a great pleasure and a reason to wake up every morning to go to work and change the lives of the people for the better.”