Homeless people and various organisations marching in the city yesterday to mark World Homeless Day. Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - Various non-profit organisations took to the streets of the CBD yesterday to commemorate World Homeless Day.

A group of about 100 people marched from Church Square to the Union Buildings, led by the Kopano Manyano God The Founder Centre for Homelessness.

The centre’s Tebogo Mpufane, who used to live on the streets, said they had gathered to create opportunities for homeless people and make people realise they were worthy of being part of the community.

“We are also celebrating that the homelessness policy has been passed. So this is a celebration/ commemoration/ awareness which is why I say we are here to show solidarity and we are here to remove the vein of ignorance that homeless people are dirty or thieves.”

Tshwane Homelessness Forum representatives said they wanted to give special attention to remembering the individuals who were murdered this year in June in Muckleneuk, to the recently approved Street Homelessness Policy for the City of Tshwane, to the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders in terms of the policy and the re-commitment of all the partners to finding ways out of homelessness.

The chairperson of Tshwane Homelessness and director of the Centre for Contextual Ministry, Stephan De Beer, said there were many empty buildings in Pretoria that could be occupied by homeless people.

“I want us to raise a few questions to ourselves about why we think in terms of the homeless as a charity issue when they need justice and why there are not enough shelters and affordable housing in strategic places across the city?”

MMC for Community and Social Development Services Sakkie du Plooy addressed the people at the Union Buildings and said a fresh audit of the number of homeless people needed to be done so that they could help proportionately.

“Policy without budget is useless I must say policy was only recently approved and now we can start budgeting accordingly.”

Du Plooy said there were children and young women sleeping on unsafe streets; everyone could extend a helping hand to the homeless.

Pretoria News