Independent Online

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

PHOTO ESSAY: A glimpse into the life of Cape Town's homeless during Covid-19 lockdown

The City of Cape Town has put up single man tents with blankets for the homeless under the N2 bridge coming into town. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

The City of Cape Town has put up single man tents with blankets for the homeless under the N2 bridge coming into town. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Apr 2, 2020

Share

Cape Town - As a response to the national lockdown the City of Cape Town has put up single man tents with blankets for the homeless under the N2 bridge coming into the city. 

Three filling meals a day are supplied, toilets and running water are available 24/7 in a demarcated area, and law enforcement are on hand to police the area.

Story continues below Advertisement

No mattresses were able to be supplied and this has upset some of the homeless but others say it is no problem as they are used to cardboard.

This is a look at the temporary reality that the Cape homeless are experiencing due to the outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19). 

Sonia Horn, 47, has shared her experience while staying under the bridge, and said that she feels like some people are being ungrateful for what the City has already done.

"I'm grateful to the City. When I came here on Saturday, I had absolutely nothing. They provided me with a tent - it's my dream to have my own tent.

"We're safe here, and the food is fantastic," Horn said. 

"People are very ungrateful in my eyes, the City has done enough. We're getting three meals a day, and toilet facilities. We do need buckets to wash in, and a facility to go and wash but that's all...I don't see why we should have mattresses, we have slept on cardboard outside.

Story continues below Advertisement

"The ungratefulness amongst these people, I don't respect it because we had nothing when we were out there, so (the City) are actually doing over enough in my eyes. I appreciate it as a woman, especially us single ladies, we are protected now.," Horn said.

"From here on, hopefully we can stay on long, sort our lives our and stay off the street."

Horn said that she is unsure whether they'd be able to keep the tents afterwards, but she hopes so.

Story continues below Advertisement

Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

A homeless man dries his clothes on the floor. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

No mattresses were able to be supplied and this has upset some of the homeless. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

A couple seen washing by in their tents. One pores water for the other to rinses the washcloth. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

When the homeless need a place to wash, anywhere will have to do. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

DA Councillor Ncumisa Mahangu, porftolio chairperson of Homeless Agency Committee, said that there were no plans in place as "we did not know about the coronavirus".

Mahangu said that the only option was to establish another safe space aside from the Culemborg Safe Space located on the Foreshore. She added that in the Culemborg site they have 230 bed space, and at the space underneath the N2 bridge they have registered 292 people.

"At the moment we have tents where we are hosting the homeless people, with blankets. Yes, there are no mattresses at the moment, but we are appealing to everyone who can donate. Any donation will be welcome here."

Story continues below Advertisement

Sonia Horn, 47, speaks about her experience with the 21 day national lockdown now in place. Video: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

On Thursday, Mayor Dan Plato announced the City of Cape Town will be accommodating street people at a single site for the duration of the national lockdown.

"While a number of sites were initially considered, further consultations on the matter have led us to the conclusion that one facility will be a better approach, both in terms of logistics and management of the site.

"A decision has therefore been made to accommodate street people at the Strandfontein Sports Ground, as it can comfortably accommodate the number of persons requiring shelter, while still adhering to social distancing protocols," Plato said.

He said that the City has noted the great public and media interest in this issue.

"We hope that the public can appreciate the magnitude of the exercise to provide accommodation at short notice to thousands of people, while continuing to deliver essential municipal services in the midst of the biggest health crisis our country has faced.

"The task to get the temporary shelter up and running requires long hours and a lot of resources from various City departments. The City takes this seriously as part of its bigger response to Covid-19, which is why this project will be coordinated under the command of the Disaster Operations Centre," Plato said.

Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

Some fold their blankets to provide some comfort on the hard floors. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

Three filling meals a day is also supplied. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

The City’s Disaster Risk Management Centre will lead the City’s efforts to prepare the site, which includes the erection of tents, ablution facilities and access to sanitation. The setup is taking place in terms of the regulations of the state of disaster.

Once the site has been prepared, it will be handed over to the City’s Social Development and Early Childhood Development Department. The department will oversee the operational matters relating to the site, in conjunction with the four operators who will be responsible for the day-to-day needs of the site occupants.

The City’s enforcement services will assist with transporting persons and their belongings to the site.

"As part of the process, health screenings will be conducted upon registration at the site, so that we are able to identify individuals who may be at risk due to pre-existing conditions," Plato said.

The City will also ensure a Law Enforcement presence on site, 24-hours a day.

"It is worth noting that, while the City will not be utilising many of the sites that have been touted as potential temporary shelters in recent days, work will get underway in the months to come, once the coronavirus crisis has been dealt with, to assess the feasibility of these as potential permanent shelter sites.

"The previously identified sites will remain available to health services to setup primary care facilities in order to decant medical services to communities who need it most," he said.

Any persons or organisations wishing to assist by providing donations can direct an email to [email protected]

Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

No mattresses were able to be supplied and this has upset some of the homeless while others say its no problem as they are used to cardboard. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

* Written by Theolin Tembo.

Cape Argus

Related Topics:

City of Cape Town

Share