Durban Metro’s ‘apartheid’ vagrant clean-up slammed

2014-08-11 00:00

A DURBAN civic right movement has accused the city of behaving like an apartheid-era municipality.

The Organisation for Civic Rights (OCR) has accused the Durban Metro Police of behaving in a similar fashion to the SAPS in the 1980s in the manner that it has “ejected” the homeless from the CBD.

The organisation’s call is on top of mounting dissatisfaction from community activists who have accused the municipality of having no plan in dealing with the growing homeless population.

OCR chairperson Iqbal Mohamed said, “Cleaning up of neighbourhoods must be done in a dignified way. There needs to be a strategy.”

The Witness reported earlier that the city had embarked on a campaign to clear the city of vagrancy with specific emphasis on Botha’s Park. The park, according to authorities, was home to many drug addicts addicted to the heroin-laced whoonga.

“There are people on our streets with what appear to be serious psychological issues. We need these people to be assessed. We need more than just social workers on the street. The only way we will really get this issue under control is if we mobilise for the poor like we mobilised against apartheid but sadly I don’t see this happening,” said Mohamed.

He called the city’s approach “indefensible”, stripping the homeless of their dignity by called them “vagrants” or “whoonga addicts” and said it “would appear that the city is behaving like its predecessor apartheid municipality”

Umbilo activist Vanessa Burger said police units have been deployed to perform daily sweeps on vagrants and addicts.

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