Cape Town - In the early hours of Tuesday morning, a large integrated operation was conducted in Camps Bay by the Provincial Department of Social Development (SDS), police, the City, non-governmental organisations and private security that resulted in 13 children and eight adults being assisted off the streets and into care.
Ignisive, a community organisation that took collaborative approaches to assist with social issues in communities, played a vital role in this operation.
Ignisive member Theresa Massaglia, who was also a member of the CPF, Camps Bay and Clifton Ratepayers Association, and the Western Cape Street Children's Forum Board, said the operation had been in the works for a long time and was set into motion a few weeks ago when Ignisive initiated a meeting with numerous groups involved in childcare to see what they could do differently to help the children on streets.
Massaglia said their goal was to have children back in school while supporting them and their families in ways that added value.
“Not only is it unlawful for children to wander about on their own and for families to be on the street with small children busking and so forth, but it is also very dangerous and children sadly get exposed to horrible things,” Massaglia said.
The operation itself was co-ordinated by the DSD and one of their field workers to ensure everybody was on hand to assist and transport the families and children – many of whom were known to the community and the Ignisive project.
Camps Bay Councillor Nicola Jowell said on Tuesday morning’s operation was focused on the Camps Bay area, specifically the green belts between Kloof and Victoria Roads.
“The families, adults and children that accepted assistance were immediately taken off the streets and temporarily hosted at the Haven night shelter. The operation was before 6am yesterday (Tues) morning so they were provided with warm drinks and food,” Jowell said.
Jowell said this was a temporary location while screening was undertaken by the City and provincial DSDs – from there placements were made based on their individual needs and circumstances.
Western Cape social development department spokesperson Esther Lewis said social workers had previously made contact with several families and children in this service delivery area and the objective of this operation was to link families and children with the required social development services determined by individual assessments.
A follow-up operation was planned to deal with other areas that have people, particularly children, sleeping on the streets in the upcoming cold weather.