Homeless man ‘wants no assistance’

The 61-year-old Parkwood man refuses assistance from the City.PHOTO: Keith blake
The 61-year-old Parkwood man refuses assistance from the City.PHOTO: Keith blake

Locals have raised concerns with the City of Cape Town after witnessing an elderly man living on the corners of Hyde Road and Prince George Drive in Parkwood. Motorist passing the area daily called on authorities to respond to the issue last week.

“For the last couple of weeks I have been watching a fellow human being, an elderly gentleman, living like an animal on an open field right next to a major robot in Parkwood. This man – I do not know his mental state – is living in the worst conditions a human can live,” says concerned citizen Keith Blake.

“Thousands of motorists ignore this man as if he is a mangy dog not worthy to be noted or cared for. What further shocks me is that officials like police, social services, Law Enforcement and more must have seen this man living like an animal but choose to cast a blind eye. I am now requesting an official investigation into this fellow brother of mine by all state officials and I am demanding, a caring investigation into this issue as if this man is your own father.”

Another motorist passing the area daily confirms the man’s condition has worsen since he first moved to the area a few months ago.

But the City’s Social Development and Early Childhood Development Department says they first attended to the service request on Tuesday 19 December last year.

JP Smith, Mayco member for safety, security and social services says officials from the Street People Reintegration Unit interviewed the man on this date and have been following up on a regular basis.

“The gentleman in question is 61 years old and is from Parkwood, just a few hundred metres from the spot where he is now residing. He was evicted by his family, but would not disclose the cause and his family have not availed themselves for discussions around reunification. The gentleman has received services from The Haven night shelter, but absconded and returned to Parkwood,” explains Smith

“He has declined all offers of assistance in terms of social grants as well as potential work opportunities through the Expanded Public Works Programme. The reintegration unit staff have visited him on numerous occasions but he continues to decline offers of assistance and has indicated that he is making a decent income from begging at the intersection.”

Smith says the department has no mandate to force a person off the street.

“Our services are accepted voluntarily. The City encourages residents to donate to shelters and organisations that support street people rather than give direct donations that may encourage individuals to remain on the street and to refuse social assistance­.”

V Queries and complaints can be logged via the City’s 107 call centre by dialling 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline. For shelter donations visit www.westerncape.gov.za

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