The Mouille Point Ratepayers Association held their annual meeting last Thursday, and the theme of homelessness was prominent.
According to Anthony Loubser, managing director of Empex (PTY) Ltd, which has the lease for the property surrounding the Three Anchor Bay tennis courts, they are working with the homeless to find a solution.
“The situation is not in our control at the moment and it is getting worse. There are more people coming there. We have the permission and the cooperation of the group living there to not allow more people to live there,” said Mr Loubser.
“They (homeless community) came to us asking about getting 24 hour security and maybe having lanyards to not allow anyone else access to this place, but we do not have the funding to do all this. We have asked PPA to give us an assessment of the costs but it’s going to mean more funds out of already stressed coffers,” he said.
PPA Tactical Security head Chris Diedericks urged citizens not to feed or offer presents to homeless persons.
“Our responsibility is to make sure the area is clean and stays safe. WE can only do so much as we private security and if you can not give so much, bin days are the worst when people from all over come here and they leave a mess and it also contributes to the petty crimes that we see happening here,” said Mr Diedericks.
Ward 54 Residents, according to Nicola Jowell, should continue to log calls so that law enforcement can determine where the hotspots are and act on the information provided by the public.
“Law Enforcement can look at the service reports and know where the problematic areas are. With the calls logged regarding homelessness we are building a body of information and statistics, and for example when we want to do an eviction order we have the evidence that will support the eviction process,” Ms Jowell said.
As a guest speaker, City of Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis stated that offering alternative housing is a challenging balancing act that should fit the criterion of dignity while being healthier and safer than living on the street.
“While we do all these tremendous things to attract so many more tourists and so many more fantastic global events and businesses here, our ability to do so is undermined if there is a sense of urban decay that comes with burgeoning homelessness,” said My Hill-Lewis.
“The first thing we have to address is the issue of alternative accommodation, even if you ask the person to move you have to provide the with alternative accommodation. If they don’t ant to move voluntarily then you have to go the legal route then you have to present the court with an alternative,” he said.
“Our teams go out everyday to offer the spaces and sometimes it’s taken up voluntarily and most times its not and we have to go the legal route. We have filed applications for evictions for the hundreds of people living on the streets and we have shown evidence to the court to show that they have been offered alternative accommodation and they were offered it repeatedly. We now provide couples accommodation at our safe spaces and I do think we have gone as far as we can go with trying to get people off the streets voluntarily and now we are going the legal route. We will soon be pursuing the eviction route for the tent city at the tennis courts but again I assure that we won’t file an application unless we know we can accommodate the people in a dignified way at the Safe Space accommodation,” he said.