No EC shel­ter for peo­ple on street

Re­unit­ing of fam­i­lies pri­or­ity for depart­ment

Daily Dispatch - - News - By SIYA TSEWU

THE state does not have shel­ters to house the home­less of the East­ern Cape.

Pro­vin­cial so­cial de­vel­op­ment spokesman Mzuk­isi Solani told the Satur­day Dis­patch this week that when­ever there was a case of a home­less per­son anywhere in the prov­ince, they treated each in­di­vid­ual case on its mer­its.

“We have dis­cov­ered that there are peo­ple that are not home­less but they sim­ply beg in the streets. So you will find that the per­son will wake up at home and go to town to beg and re­turn home in the evening.

“Then there are cases where our so­cial work­ers have as­sessed the per­son and the sit­u­a­tion and have found that the per­son is men­tally dis­turbed and that mat­ter is handed over to the depart­ment of health to deal with.

“Over­all, the state does not have a shel­ter to ac­com­mo­date home­less peo­ple,” Solani said.

He said their mis­sion as a depart­ment was to put fam­i­lies to­gether and so they in­ves­ti­gated and searched for peo­ple’s rel­a­tives and tried to rec­on­cile them.

“We be­lieve in the re­uni­fi­ca­tion of fam­i­lies, so when­ever we in­ter­vene, we do our best to make fam­i­lies whole again.

“What we also do is to find out why the per­son was on the streets in the first place and we do our best to en­sure that once they are re­moved from the streets, they stay off the streets.

“Some peo­ple are re­moved but they go back. We want to en­sure that their needs are met and they do not go back to the streets,” Solani added.

East­ern Cape health spokesman Sizwe Ku­pelo said they did not have a man­date to deal with the home­less. He said that was solely the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the depart­ment of so­cial de­velop

In 2015, the Dis­patch re­ported that there were six mur­ders on the streets of East London in which all the tar­geted vic­tims were home­less.

East London has sev­eral or­gan­i­sa­tions that have soup kitchens for the home­less to be fed around the city.

BCM spokes­woman Bathandwa Di­a­mond said: “Buf­falo City Metro has by­laws that ev­ery cit­i­zen has to ad­here to.

“Th­ese by-laws are there to as­sist law en­force­ment of­fi­cers when they have to en­force the law and con­trol the be­hav­iour of the peo­ple in the street.

“Ac­cord­ing to the metro’s street by-laws a per­son who is found to be caus­ing a nui­sance to other peo­ple by loi­ter­ing, stand­ing or sleep­ing on the street or pub­lic place will be fined R100.

“How­ever, for the by-laws to be ef­fec­tive the per­son must have an iden­tity doc­u­ment.”— siyat@dis­patch.co.za

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