The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is disturbed by the death and the injury of yet more homeless persons in Tshwane.
The DA has been reliably informed that one homeless person has died at Heuweloord shelter in Centurion, Tshwane.
It is alleged that the deceased died after being isolated in a tent because he was suffering from tuberculosis. This incident happened during this winter’s coldest weekend.
The second homeless person has been admitted to the hospital in a critical condition after being stabbed numerous times.
It is alleged that there are no security or Tshwane Metro police officers at the shelters to ensure the safety of homeless people.
The shelters have been in the spotlight since the start of the lockdown more than 100 days ago, and even though a lot of critical issues were addressed, it appears that as the lockdown is phased out, less attention and care is being given to the shelters.
We have further been informed that the Tshwane Metro police officers have been withdrawn from all shelters over the past month leaving this vulnerable community even more at risk.
People are now being relocated from one shelter to another, and there are rumours that all of these makeshifts shelters are in the process of being closed down.
This comes at a time when we as South Africa are experiencing the coldest cold front yet this winter.
The DA has been calling on the Gauteng Provincial Government for the longest of times to ensure that we find a long-term solution when it comes to addressing the concerns of the homeless.
In the midst of closing these makeshifts shelters there are no alternative solutions and the provincial government will yet again turn a blind eye to the poverty stricken poorest of the poor when they are forced to go back to the streets.
The DA will table questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) and we will also write to the Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Nomathemba Mokgethi to ascertain what measures are being put in place to ensure the safety of homeless people at the shelters and to call for an urgent investigation into what lead to these terrible incidents .
It is also time that tangible solutions are tabled to address homelessness as the numbers of Covid-19 infections are on the rise.