Store opens up for the homeless

2017-08-23 06:01
A play was put on for the homeless and carried the message that drugs can lead to living on the streets, but a second chance is always available.

A play was put on for the homeless and carried the message that drugs can lead to living on the streets, but a second chance is always available.

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HOMELESS people living on the streets of Pietermaritzburg “shopped” for clothes at the annual PMB Street Store
at Freedom Square at the weekend. The annual event is organised by Mandy Chibambo and Thandeka Ndlovu in collaboration with the Msunduzi Municipality, and is set up to look like a retail clothing shop with various departments where people can select an item at no cost.

“The purpose of the day is to bring the people of Pietermaritzburg together in the spirit of ubuntu while clothing the homeless in a

dignified manner,” Chibambo
said.

The homeless also received toiletries, fruit, a meal and were entertained by a drama­ group and listened to words of wisdom from the mayor, Themba Njilo, councillors and social workers.

Addressing the homeless people, Njilo said no person is meant to live on the streets and everyone deserves a second chance.

He said the municipality is willing to assist homeless people with acquiring­ skills so they can find employment or start their own business.

Njilo added the municipality will also help those who want to go back home, with locating their family. The mayor said the municipality is also looking at placing some of the homeless drug addicts in
rehabilitation.

However, this year’s event ended abruptly due to restlessness by the homeless people, which led to a stampede. In a statement, the organisers acknowledged that the actions by the homeless people may have been caused by failed logistics
and a delay in the day’s programme, adding that they do not blame the homeless people for the stampede.

“Anybody could have reacted the same way or retaliated in some sort of way if they were made to wait for over three hours in unstable Maritzburg weather conditions,” says Thandeka Ndlovu.

No one was injured during the stampede and no municipal property was damaged.

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