Gauteng govt 'refuses' to work with City of Tshwane to refurbish homeless shelters

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The Gauteng government is allegedly refusing to meet the City of Tshwane half way in refurbishing homeless shelters.
The Gauteng government is allegedly refusing to meet the City of Tshwane half way in refurbishing homeless shelters.
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  • According to the City of Tshwane, the Gauteng government has refused to work with it to refurbish homeless shelters.
  • The City said the work that needed to be done to address homelessness would require intervention and collaboration from all spheres of government.
  • However, the provincial government has allegedly denied infrastructure spending for homeless people in the City.

The City of Tshwane has claimed the Gauteng government has refused to work with it to refurbish homeless shelters in the country's capital, Pretoria.

In a statement earlier this week, Tshwane MMC for Community and Social Development Services Thabisile Vilakazi said the provincial government had denied infrastructure spending for homeless people in the City.

"Homeless shelters in the City have been neglected for a very long time. This is mainly due to policy uncertainty regarding who should fund them between provincial and local government," Vilakazi added.

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"As MMC for community and social development services, I approached the Gauteng MEC for social development to partner with us in addressing the issue of homelessness in Tshwane. I made a request to collaborate with province to refurbish the infrastructure of homeless shelters."

Vilikazi continued: 

Unfortunately, the response we got was disappointing, the provincial government was not willing to work with us and assist in this matter.

The City said the work that needed to be done to address homelessness would require intervention and collaboration from all spheres of government.

READ | Homeless in winter in SA: By choice or circumstance?

Vilakazi added the Gauteng Department of Social Development was allocated R88 million from the provincial treasury to address homelessness, but that little of the budget has been spent.

"So, we must ask the provincial department, why are the funds not going towards addressing the infrastructure issues that surround homeless shelters?"
Homeless people matter, and it is time that we as government bodies come together and formulate an intergovernmental and interdepartmental body that will focus on ensuring that homeless people are also catered for.

It was reported in November that the only City-run shelter was hijacked by criminal elements. The takeover led to the homeless being extorted to get a roof over their heads.

The shelter is also in a dilapidated state and hardly habitable.

At the time, Vilakazi blamed the administrators who had been appointed to run the City after it was placed under administration.

When the DA-led administration took over again, he said the site would be decommissioned and those running the shelter illegally would be removed.

Since Tuesday, News24 has made several attempts to get comment from the Gauteng Department of Social Development. Its comment will be added once received.

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