Street children back on the streets

2016-04-27 06:00

SOME of the street children who were offered shelter at Havelock Road have absconded and are now back on the streets.

Last year the Msunduzi Municipality and Business Fighting Crime jointly removed people living in the street by Upper Crust bakery­ and Jonathan Spar after a call from the Office of the Premier and the ANC national office.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said those who ran away are rebellious and did not obey the house rules.

“We have basic rules at the shelter and some youths do not want to live in a place where there are rules - street life gives them complete freedom from responsibility.

“Those on the streets are mainly from the beer hall, but we also have a group who are unco-operative and beg or do ‘bit’ jobs to keep their habit going. They are adults so we cannot force them to do anything.”

Madonda said it is not all doom and gloom however, as some tenants abide by the rules.

“We are patient and persistent and some of them gradually move into the co-operative group. Some become increasingly disruptive and Debbie Harrison [project manager] is then obliged to issue warnings and then expel them. She then informs the city security that they are not welcome back at the shelter and should be arrested if found begging on the streets as per the by-laws. The shelter provides a second chance to get one’s life back on track, but we do expel people for criminal activities or anti-social behaviour, which impact on the others.”

“There are between 22 and 36 youths in the shelter, one social worker and two interns responsible for counselling. We have eight people doing a free computer course.

“We have a core of youth that are coherent and co-operative. We are liaising with NGOs such as Mental Health and South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence to get support.

“The social workers go onto the streets from time to time to speak to the youth there,” said Madonda.

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