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PICS: Homeless moved into Strandfontein despite outcry from residents

Homeless people from different areas in Cape Town were on Sunday relocated to Strandfontein Sports grounds by the City of Cape Town. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Homeless people from different areas in Cape Town were on Sunday relocated to Strandfontein Sports grounds by the City of Cape Town. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Apr 5, 2020

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Cape Town -  A group of homeless people were on Sunday relocated to a shelter built at the Strandfontein Sports Ground despite an outcry from residents in the area.

About 2 000 people were expected to be moved to the site from different locations in Cape Town.

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The announcement about the site was made on Thursday by mayor Dan Plato after concerns were raised regarding the temporary housing of the homeless in tents in the city for the 21-day lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Plato said the housing of the homeless would be serviced by the City of Cape Town's Disaster Operations Centre and the City’s Disaster Management, and would ensure social distancing and provide services like water and sanitation.

Homeless people from different areas in Cape Town were on Sunday relocated to Strandfontein Sports grounds by the City of Cape Town. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

“A decision has 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 on Thursday.

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“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 to promote good hygiene in curbing the spread of Covid-19.”

Homeless people from different areas in Cape Town were on Sunday relocated to Strandfontein Sports grounds by the City of Cape Town. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Plato added that during registration, the homeless would be screened for pre-existing conditions and that the area would be monitored for safety and health reasons 24 hours a day by Law Enforcement.

But Strandfontein Ratepayers Association chairperson Mario Oostendurp says residents were not consulted and that the silence from the city " was deafening".

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Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

On Sunday in a message to residents Oostendurp, Sandy Schuter (CPF) and Huey Jacobs (FMC) said they had been "cut off from any and all information, as we continuously beg and plea for information and requests to be kept informed".

"The silence is deafening as it causes further frustration to all concerned. At this point in time, we rely solely on our contacts within the media and safety and security agencies...

"Operational plans, which were requested on numerous occasions, to numerous departments , including the mayor, is still forthcoming. The CoCt of is making full use of the lockdown to purposely keep everyone out of the loop."

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The construction of the shelter at the Strandfontein Sports Grounds earlier. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

The trio said they were pursuing all avenues to best to ensure the health and safety of all concerned.

"We can assure the community that despite the blocking of information, consultation and involvement, this will not deter us pushing ahead. We request that as a community, we stay focused. We are fighting a deadly virus and need to ensure the health and safety of our families.

"Please spare a thought for the homeless, who are being brought into the area, against their will. Our fight and frustrations continues and remains focused and directed purely at the CoCT, not the homeless or amongst ourselves."

The construction of the shelter at the Strandfontein Sports Grounds earlier. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

According to the message, the City of Cape Town has granted the community representatives permission for limited access onto the complex, under very strict protocol, as observers only.

An irate resident posted on social media: “Strandfontein only has that sports field for recreation – they want to take that away too.

“It is being said temporarily, but once those people are in there, none of them will move out again.

“I feel for the homeless but really now? Is Strandfontein now a dumping site – dead bodies, homeless, what next?"

The field is the same site where, a month ago, the City said stormwater had mixed with potable water, causing contamination and leaving Strandfontein residents sick.

The problem was resolved last month.

Daily Voice and IOL

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