Complaints against homeless go unanswered

Staff members at the Haven Night Shelter have raised concerns about the homeless who live in Napier Street.

Staff at The Haven Night Shelter in Napier Street, Green Point, have once again, raised concerns about the intimidation caused by a group of homeless people who have taken to squatting on the pavement outside their premises.

The night shelter provides temporary shelter, physical care, social welfare and family reunification services to homeless people in the province.

Since May last year, the staff at the shelter have been complaining to the City of Cape Town about the impact this has on the shelter as donors and sponsors continue to fear for their safety as they are often harassed for money.

A staff member at the night shelter, Kevin Alexander, wrote to the City early January this year, asking for their intervention in the matter.

“Very little has changed since the last clean-up operation, in fact, matters grew worse.

There are now more people on the pavements who have become quite threatening and demanding. The pavements are filthy and regressing into slum conditions,” he said.

A businessman in the area shared Mr Alexander’s sentiments stating that his clients were refusing to come to his store due to the smell and danger on the street.

He said the state of the streets was appalling and the assistance so far had not been sufficient to solve the issue.

The principal at Prestwich Street Primary School, Mahdi Samodien, has also voiced concerns this past week about the matter.

He also wrote to City authorities stating that one person was chased into the school grounds by what appeared to be a criminal with intent.

“Our kids scattered to all parts of the school. Two of our clients could not enter the premises today because a woman was literally using the 20l buckets as her toilet and just left it next to our school gate,” he said.

“What should we do to get your attention?

All we have witnessed is the removal of card boards and goods, only to be brought back minutes later. They are literally stealing our bins, remove our name and use it as cupboards,” he said.

Touching on the plans to combat this ongoing problem, the City’s mayoral committee member for community services and health, Zahid Badroodien, said the street people reintegration unit is well aware of this street people hot spot and has done numerous social outreach interventions to offer social support.

This includes relocation to shelters and the Culemborg Safe Space; assistance in getting identity documents and Expanded Public Works Programme opportunities; relocation to a place of origin and reunification with family.

“Unfortunately, all offers of assistance, which is accepted on a voluntary basis, have been refused by the individuals who frequent this area.The City is planning to conduct a zero tolerance joint operation with all relevant role-players in this area,” he said.

The spokesperson for City law enforcement, Wayne Dyason, said: “Law enforcement holds regular operations in the area to remove street people. Unfortunately, they do return, but we will continue to monitor the area.”