Durban - Millions of rand meant to be used to fund the building of shelters for the homeless in Durban will now be used to purchase tractors for the eThekwini Municipality’s Parks, Recreation and Culture unit (PRC).
This comes after the Safer Cities unit failed to secure land for the building of the Inner City Homeless Safe Sleeping Space.
Councillors were briefed on this during a council meeting recently.
DA councillor Zoe Solomon and member of the security and emergency services committee said about R8.1 million had been moved to PRC.
“Despite the desperate need for such an establishment and a site being identified timely to facilitate the city’s more than 16 000 people who have no alternative than sleeping on the streets of eThekwini, the land use management assessment was never done.
“At risk of losing the funding, re-prioritisation became essential, yet with the understanding that the ever-increasing needs and the constraints that homelessness places on the City cannot remain ignored,” she said.
She said the establishment of the Safe Sleeping Place could afford those who wish to better their circumstances a safe haven and the City an opportunity for profiling, rehabilitation and reuniting families.
IFP councillor Mzwethu Gwala said failure to spend the money on the original purpose, building shelters, was concerning.
“We are not ready to do things in the proper manner. This tells us that this is because of poor planning. Land was found to build this facility but was not acted upon at the right time, and hence it has become necessary that funds be transferred to buy tractors.
“We plead with the mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda, to take this issue of consequence management. We could be blaming the ANC but only to find that it is these officials. The mayor has said the officials are lazy, repeatedly; we need to deal with that,” said the IFP councillor.