City to deal with street children

2013-06-20 00:00

ROLEPLAYERS in the Pietermaritzburg Urban Renewal Programme (Purp) hope to rid the CBD of street children.

These children are found near the KZN legislature, City Hall, the premier’s office and the tourism hub.

In a meeting yesterday, which was attended by representatives of the Msunduzi Municipality, Msunduzi Pietermaritzburg Tourism Association (MPTA), Social Development and Safe City, the general consensus was that there was a need to find a solution to the problem of street children in the CBD.

Three months ago a Communicators’ Forum — a structure for all stakeholders to share common challenges they faced in their respective fields — was formed, said Msunduzi spokesperson Brian Zuma.

“We want to find a common ground to deal with our mutual problems,” he said.

Zuma said it would not only be in the interest of the municipality to clean the streets, but also to tackle the challenge brought about by the existence of street children.

“To have street children in our city centre is in contrast with our Purp, which is aiming at cleaning and beautifying the city,” he said.

All those present at the meeting agreed that unoccupied houses provide shelter for a growing number of street children and adult homeless people.

Another concern was drug addiction, as this drove street children away from the existing child care centres around Pietermaritzburg.

MPTA’s acting director Dumisani Mhlongo proposed that the city have a close look at how the eThekwini Metro dealt with street children at the beachfront.

Zuma said: “We need to have a permanent task team that will focus on dealing with the issue of bylaw enforcement in the city.”

All stakeholders have been invited to participate in the next meeting on July 10.

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