Some of Durban’s homeless people say they ran away from home after committing untold crimes

The homeless people are scattered around the city of Durban. Picture: Thobeka Mthembu/IOL

The homeless people are scattered around the city of Durban. Picture: Thobeka Mthembu/IOL

Published Apr 20, 2024


The high rate of unemployment and the number of people addicted to drugs has been blamed for the apparent increase in the number of homeless people in Durban.

It is believed that the majority of Durban’s homeless, are young people. With many having become homeless due to unemployment, crime, poverty, family conflict or substance abuse.

Leon, who did not want to reveal his surname, 25, originally from KwaDukuza in an area called eTete, is one of the homeless people in Durban.

He said, he ran away from home because of the criminal activities he had done back home.

“I came to Durban because I was running away from the crime I did back home. Before, I was living life, I finished school and due to unemployment I became a hustler to survive.”

He said he got caught up with bad people, which is when he started misbehaving and doing regular crimes, up until he did something extreme which is the reason why he ended up running away from home to Durban. He would not say what he did.

Bongani Nsele, who is also a homeless, said: “I have been on the streets for 16 years now. For me, I make a living by selling cardboards and cans.

“Life in the streets is not easy. I eat once a day because after smoking our drug, you would not want food anymore since you would be drugged and there is nothing else you will want after.

“I would like to go back home but the things and the crimes I did, does not allow me to go back home.”

Some residents have expressed that that they don’t feel safe anymore because some of the homeless people tend to rob them to get money for drugs.

A Durban resident only identified as Miss Khoza said: “We have a problem, we are not safe, we cannot walk and do our groceries freely.

“We fear that the homeless people will take our groceries, phones and wallets and there is nothing we can do. They left their homes to live on the streets and now we are not safe.”

KZN police spokesperson Constable Thenjiwe Ngcobo says Durban residents can take following measures.

“The community is encouraged to work together with the police by reporting suspects or any criminal activities because they prevent crime on daily basis to ensure that the criminals are brought to book.”