Create designated 'work stations' for sex workers

2016-07-19 22:29
Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Danny Jordaan is addressing an interactive meeting Bluewater Bay (Thulani Gqirana, News24)

Port Elizabeth - Get rid of the naked prostitutes putting their bits on display around Nelson Mandela Metro's St George's Strand, residents appealed on Tuesday.

Speaking at a meeting at the NG Kerk in Bluewater Bay, residents called for more police visibility, offered their assistance to rid the area of crime and went on to suggest that prostitutes be given a "work station".

Mayor Danny Jordaan addressed an intimate interactive meeting in Bluewater Bay on Tuesday, where residents laid out what their issues were ahead of the local government elections.

These included a lack of recreational centres, police stations that were located too far, crime and education among other things.

Other issues included substance abuse, pollution in the Swartkops River as well as unfinished houses that become havens for criminals.

Another big problem was snakes in areas such as St George's Strand.

Not a stich of clothing

But one woman, Zukiswa Gqola, who said she came from the "forgotten St George's Strand", pleaded with Jordaan to deal with the growing number of prostitutes in the area.

They were everywhere, she said.

"They sell their bodies anywhere around here. Some even walk around naked. Naked, without a stitch of clothing on," she emphasised.

The community members often ran into these prostitutes outside shopping malls.

"Naked. I understand they have a job to do, and it might be legal for them to sell their bodies, but it is not legal for them to be naked. Outside shops nogal," she said.

And if the prostitutes were not at their usual stations, the regular residents were targeted by the men looking to buy sexual favours.

Traditional healers

She said a solution might be for the municipality to have a special area designated for the prostitutes, "a work station of sorts".

Jordaan said they would look into the issue and come back to the community.

"But you must not wait too long for us to come back to you," he said.

Gqola also raised concerns about traditional healers performing rituals on the beach involving burning offerings that were then left in the area.

She said these community members could not pick up afterwards because doing so was associated with bad luck.

Jordaan promised to look into the issue.

He also enlisted councillor Fikile Desi to look into the matter.

Getting police closer to the people

"It is not about what they are doing, but where they are doing it," he said.

Jordaan went on to speak about job opportunities in the metro, the oceans economy, the township economy and also promised to attend to their concerns.

He said he would endeavoured to get leaks fixed, dumping sites fenced. He said he would also inquire about getting police services closer to the people.

In the two-hour engagement, he also detailed plans for youth development.

He encouraged them to stay in school in order to take advantage of opportunities.

In the past, he reminisced, those with Grade 8 were regarded as smart, those who passed Grade 12 were brilliant and there were limitless opportunities for anyone with tertiary education.

But things had changed and the youth had to plan ahead when looking at furthering their education, he said.

The mayor also apologised to community members from St George's Strand who felt ignored and pledged to do better.

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