Durban - The eThekwini Municipality is challenging Durban residents to take a stand against homelessness by sleeping on the streets on Friday night.
More than 570 people have already registered for the event, which is organised in partnership with I Care, an NGO that rehabilitates street children.
eThekwini’s Head of Communication Tozi Mthethwa told News24 on Thursday that participants will spend the night on the streets with the city’s homeless, where they will exchange stories, give advice and perhaps get an opportunity to change someone's life for the better.
Mthethwa said, “The city has never done something like this before. It's a first. The mayor [James Nxumalo] will welcome the participants and address them on the current status of homeless people in Durban.
“We can’t deal with the issue by giving money to people on the streets – that is not enough. We want people to assist organisations like I Care, that are dealing with the problem.
“We are hoping that people will realise that taking care of the homeless can’t be the government’s responsibility alone. Communities must also step in and help.”
Around 1 000 people are expected to gather at the City Hall’s Church Walk at 17:00 on Friday. Participants will then be taken to zones reserved on Dr Pixley KaSeme (West) Street. “Every zone will be marked and have zone leaders overseeing the safety and other needs of those involved. There will be Metro police patrolling the marked zones so people will feel safe,” said Mthethwa.
The sleepover is expected to end at 05:00 on Saturday morning.