Car park’s no ‘shelter’

2015-05-19 06:00

Cardboard boxes, empty bottles, crates and litter are all strewn along the walls of a car park in Wynberg and the local neighbourhood watch is calling on authorities to clear the area.

This as a number of homeless people have erected makeshift shelters along the walls of the car park on the corners of Byrnes, Brisbane and Ottery roads in Wynberg.

Wynberg East Neighbourhood Watch coordinator Abieda Joseph says the car park is a serious problem and needs to be cleaned.

“We tried to get some people off the street, but the excuse is always that the night shelters are full which is untrue because the shelter staff always assists by taking the homeless people to other shelters where they can get food and a place to sleep,” she says.

Joseph says there are people who “infiltrate” the homeless and threaten them.

“These people that come and scale among the homeless are the ones they say are robbing people which is sad because people will think it is them doing so,” she says.

She adds that many of the homeless people who live in the car park told Watch members this.

“They always tell us what is going on in the area, and more specifically at the car park, but we so hope that they can get some assistance and that the City can clean up the area,” she adds.

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, says the City of Cape Town’s law enforcement department has received complaints about the car park.

“The nature of the complaints relates to transgressions in terms of the bylaw relating to streets, public places and prevention of noise nuisances and specifically around the making of fires, loitering, urinating and drinking in public and littering,” he says.

Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport, confirms that the car park is managed by Transport for Cape Town.

Smith says the City’s displaced people’s unit (DPU), together with the City’s social development department, conduct regular interventions with a view to reuniting the street people with their families.

“However, many of them refuse the assistance offered by the City. The DPU has conducted operations in this area before to remove street people, but unfortunately they return once the officers leave,” he says.

Smith says the unit will continue to conduct operations, but it needs the help of residents. The City will also continue to regularly carry out bylaw enforcement operations in the area.

Suzette Little, mayoral committee member for social development and early childhood development, says the City takes “a holistic approach” in helping homeless people, with the ultimate goal of getting them off the streets by linking them up with opportunities and reuniting them with their communities.

“Street people will continue to return to an area as long as they have an incentive to do so – as long as residents give money to them directly or food or if there is some economic opportunity available to them,” she says.

Little says they therefore encourage residents to give responsibly, rather than perpetuating the cycle of dependency.

Those who would like to give donations are encouraged to give to organisations dealing with street people rather than directly to street people.


Continued on page 2

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