WATCH: We're helpless against coronavirus, say Pretoria's homeless

Published Mar 28, 2020


Pretoria - Residents of Marikana informal settlement in Centurion have appealed to the City of Tshwane and the national government for sanitisers, masks and gloves to help protect them during the 21-day lockdown. 

They said people were scared and nobody was adequately equipped to deal with the coronavirus, but they couldn’t  just sit back and do nothing, even if it means fighting against a disease they neither understand nor are equipped to deal with. 

The majority of the residents said they were paralysed by fear of the threat the disease poses to their communities. They also said they find themselves helpless trying to protect their families without any guidelines from health authorities.

The informal settlement is a dump it’s site and leaves much to be desired. From the entrance their is a strong stench which suggests lack of health care. Waste  and garbage are scattered around with children playing alongside it.  

Video: Sakhile Ndlazi/Pretoria News

“None of us is trained to deal with the scale of what this coronavirus might turn out to be, given what is already happening in other parts of the world.

“It is the duty of each of us as South Africans to join the president, and the rest of the nation, in the fight against the potential scourge of this deadly coronavirus. But my problem is that, like everyone else, we cannot join the fight unless we have the means to wage a war against the virus,” said a resident. 

Homelessness people are being accommodated at Caledonian Stadium in Arcadia during the 21-day lockdown. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/ African News Agency (ANA)

Further uptown at the Caledonian stadium resembled a war zone with the homeless fighting for food and methadone. 

Video: Sakhile Ndlazi/Pretoria News

Video: Sakhile Ndlazi/Pretoria News

Picture: Bongani Shilubane/ African News Agency (ANA)

When the Pretoria News arrived it was pandemonium, with the homeless wanting to flee the stadium because they were allegedly ill treated. They complained about space and lack of health resources like soaps and masks.

Picture: Bongani Shilubane/ African News Agency (ANA)

Gauteng's acting Social Development MEC Panyaza Lesufi paid them a visit on Saturday. “We will have a meeting with the different stakeholders to address the concerns, he said.

Picture: Bongani Shilubane/ African News Agency (ANA)

Lesufi said he wanted to sass out the situation and have a fell of it before giving feedback and addressing the problem.

Pretoria News