Cape Town - The City of Cape Town on Sunday delivered 2 000 mattresses to the homeless being accommodated at the controversial temporary camp at Strandfontein Sportsground.
The site, which is being managed by the City of Cape Town as part of efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19, was set up last Sunday.
"Tonight, everybody will sleep comfortably. This is probably one of our greatest regrets in setting all of this up. We had a week lead time to get this all together and if we'd had a year like with the Safe Space the story would've been very different, but in a week you don't get it like you want it, " mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said on Sunday.
Smith said the city had depended on a humanitarian relief agency for the mattresses but they could not deliver. The City then used its emergency procurement system through Disaster Management to procure the mattresses.
"Day by day this facility is evolving. None of the facilities across South Africa have gone well in the first days. They've all been marred by problems in some cases everybody left and walked out. Here, slowly but surely the people are getting happier, they are finding a sense of identity among the groups that they're in."
Video and picture by Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency/ANA
The City of Cape Town has come under fire over the conditions at the Strandfontein site. Residents of Strandfontein have expressed their unhappiness at the relocation of around 2 000 homeless people to their area and homeless people housed at the camp have described it as akin to living in a concentration camp.
The ANC caucus in the Western Cape has also demanded the immediate closure of the camp after an 18-year-old girl was raped there on Good Friday. The party has also called for national government to intervene in what it said was "developing into a major crisis".
However Smith said on Sunday that there were extraordinary opportunities emerging at the site, with many being helped for long-untreated illnesses.
"If everybody could lay off the politics a bit, we can keep on building on this. And the whole of this Strandfontein story is going to end up being a very good news story."