Here we go: We have never been the city’s enemy number one. Nor its biggest challenge. Ask yourself what the homeless can do for the city. We see and hear everything. Up to now, we said very little. The private undercovers don’t even know half the things we do. But we “live and let live”. Until now.
When outsiders come to the city to loot, rob and damage property and the homeless end up with the blame, it is time to set the record straight. But in this lies the challenge. Who can we trust? There is no white and black here. Blurred lines.
Some officers are running their own little private operations. Very lucrative, if I may add. Most bouncers in the clubs are foreign. Most parking attendants speak French. Syndicates. And they are all connected in one way or another.
Not that it is all bad. There is order. Cape Town is not just your normal 9-5 office hours city.
After dark is when the real powers come out to play. And nobody gets hurt. Unless you step out of line.
Have you ever asked yourself why the gang-related violence has never really played out in our city?
Talking about decision-making: We have nothing
All those networking, meetings and emails are a waste of everybody’s time. As long as the homeless are not included in the choices made, the plan of actions a waste of thousands of rand.
You simply cannot assume you know best. Do you understand street dynamics? Have you been on the other side? Nope.
We never became homeless to thrive on car break-ins; looting and corruption. Why s*** on your own doorstep?
We’re not the ones being aggressive at begging. Why would we beg? We know where to eat, have a bath, get clothing, etc. And we’re proud. We like to make our own way. Selling beads, recycles, washing cars, to mention a few.
I am going to use the latest buzzword - radical transformation. We homeless should link up with the local enforcement agencies and work hand in hand to rid the city of its bad apples.
Some weekends youth are driven into the city en masse with a purpose, to run havoc in Long Street, start fights and rob tourists. Even bouncers have been under attack from these groups who then returns home.
The Company’s Garden is a no-go at night. I foresee serious challenges.
They better prepare for the “switching on of the lights” event later this year.
Another issue is the 24-hour cafés and the shops on the Parade.
It creates a platform for all kind of illegal trading.
And it is not safe. But the food here is fresh and cheap so we go there - R8 for a chip roll.
Coffee is just R5, but certain areas where it is dangerous at times have no security patrol.
* Danny Oosthuizen is the #TheDignityProject ambassador. In his weekly daily column for the Cape Argus, he tackles the struggles homeless people face. Connect with Danny on Facebook and on Twitter @masekind3213 or via email: [email protected]
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.