Durban - A campaign to discourage people from giving money to beggars at robots has been launched after reports of motorists being harassed and spat on at a busy Berea intersection.
Members of the Berea Community Policing Forum (CPF) held a placard protest at the intersection of Stephen Dlamini Road (Essenwood) and St Thomas Road on Thursday evening.
Colleen Van Rensburg, of the Berea CPF sector 1, said the beggars posed a safety risk to motorists. “In meetings people complained about beggars banging on car roof and doors if they were not given money. Women are soft targets in most cases.
“They litter, urinate and throw trash on the pavements,” she said.
Metro and Berea police assisted CPF members at the campaign.
Several placards read, “Do not give money to beggars” and “Don’t encourage people to beg on the street”.
They also handed pamphlets to motorists with the following message: “Please don’t encourage people to beg on our streets. We ask that you give to your local child welfare or non-government organisation.”
Musgrave pensioner Jean Haxton, 74, claims a beggar spat in her face when she did not give him money. She joined the awareness campaign.
Haxton, a regular user of Stephen Dlamini Road, said she always gave beggars a friendly smile and thumbs up when passing in her black Ford Escourt XR3, which they now recognise.
Two weeks ago she stopped at the intersection of St Thomas and Stephen Dlamini with her window halfway down. A beggar approached.
“I see him often. Normally he makes gestures for food and walks past. This time he demanded money from me. He said I don’t give him anything. The next minute he spits on my face, bangs on my roof and starts mumbling threats to me.”
Haxton sounded her hooter until he left her car. She said no-one came to her aid and she now avoided the intersection for fear of another attack.