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City of Cape Town rebuts claims that it is ending a successful PEP project

Souper Troopers Souper squad, employed by the Khulisa Social Solutions PEP project, revamping the Geoff Burton House garden. Picture: Supplied

Souper Troopers Souper squad, employed by the Khulisa Social Solutions PEP project, revamping the Geoff Burton House garden. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 3, 2022

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This article first appeared in the 30 June 2022 edition of the Cape Argus newspaper.

Cape Town - NPOs assisting the homeless were at a loss after the City’s Social Development and Early Childhood Development Department’s (SDECD) initial decision to drop the Khulisa Social Solutions PEP project, despite the fact that it was hailed to be a huge success and employed 556 homeless people.

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However, the City has rebutted this and said that it recognised the benefits of the project and was working hard to make sure that it could continue in one form or another.

At the end of 2021, Khulisa Social Solutions was awarded a project execution plan (PEP) contract with the City, through the SDECD, that created employment for homeless individuals through the help of a coalition of NPOs, that worked in the social development sector – including Khulisa Streetscapes, U-Turn, Souper Troopers, and others.

Souper Troopers Souper squad, employed by the Khulisa Social Solutions PEP project, revamping the Geoff Burton House garden. Picture: Supplied

Souper Troopers fundraising co-ordinator Caryn Gootkin said: “The project has been hugely successful, largely because a portion of the funding is dedicated to psychosocial development programmes that ensure the PEP employees don’t just earn an income, they take part in a series of development interventions that provide the support they need to heal and reintegrate into society.”

Khulisa Social Solutions strategic partnerships manager and Streetscapes founder Jessie Laaitinen said: “We simply can’t believe that the very department that is tasked with social development can turn their back on 556 homeless beneficiaries whose lives have been transformed by this project.”

Gootkin said many of these employees now paid rent to live in shelters or at home with their families – but the funding that supported this was ending on June 30, the end of the City’s financial year, with R3.8 million remaining unspent.

The City said it applied to National Treasury to allow them to roll over the remaining R3.8 million into the new year, but the authorisation, if it did come from National Treasury, would only be given in September, and was thus looking into using its own funds for the project until then.

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In April this year, they City was informed by the National Treasury that the PEP programme would continue for the next two years and the municipality was invited to submit proposals for the amount of R156 million for the next two years, which was submitted to the EPWP Department.

Souper Troopers Souper squad, employed by the Khulisa Social Solutions PEP project, taking part in psychosocial development activities. Picture: Supplied

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Cape Argus

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