Homeless set up as car guards

2017-06-27 06:01
Zeyaad Salie shows off his pink bib, as part of a parking attendant project run by the local CPF. PHOTO: Nicole McCain

Zeyaad Salie shows off his pink bib, as part of a parking attendant project run by the local CPF. PHOTO: Nicole McCain

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A project to reduce “disruption” caused by informal car guards will see 15 people given jobs.

The Simon’s Town Community Policing Forum (CPF) has launched a project to train and employ parking attendants in collaboration with Law Enforcement and Simon’s Town police officers.

The project is an effort to “formalise and manage” the current situation where vagrants or street people put on any kind of luminous vest, harassing and causing general disruption to the traffic and businesses in town, explains the CPF’s Karen Kerchhoff.

The project is an extension of the current managed parking attendant project at Seaforth and Boulders parking lot and focuses on St Georges Street for now.

The 15 car guards have been chosen from local street people, self-nominated and appointed amongst themselves.

These parking attendants are managed and allocated space on a rotational basis to ensure equity. They have all been on a training course with the local police and subscribe to a code of conduct.

Zeyaad Salie, one of the parking attendants in the project, says working on St Georges Street is different from his previous post at Long Beach, where he used to help surfers unpack their boards, but he enjoys being able to provide a service.

“On rainy days I’ve got an umbrella to use as a service for people parking. And every morning we help the businesses unpack and tidy up the pavement,” he says.

He also records the make of each car, its number plates and the time of parking to help Law Enforcement officers. He, along with the other parking attendants, wears a bright pink bib.

To support the project, a social development support arm will be put in place in conjunction with the City of Cape Town and Simon’s Town Business Association, explains Kerchhoff.

“Help will be afforded to those who are willing to be helped, with the goal of reintroducing individuals back into society. Each parking attendant will receive ongoing training and support, both functionally and socially to increase their potential income and self-worth.

“This parking attendant project may not be conventional and there will surely be initial teething problems, but with the support of our community, we will make this work,” she says.

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