The Department of Social Development is currently housing over 350 homeless people in temporary shelters across the province as part of the national disaster plan to keep homeless people off the street during the nationwide lockdown.
The Capricorn District is housing 33 people, who are currently residing at the Polokwane showgrounds.
Departmental Spokesperson Witness Tiva says the department will continue to house people until after a formal declaration by the president, Cyril Ramaphosa, to officiate the end of the lockdown, is made.
“The department is more than ready to continue housing anyone who resides on the street as per the guidelines of the lockdown. The move to the various levels of the lockdown will not affect this, and it will only be when the lockdown is over that the department will find other means around the homeless people.”
According to Tiva the department has roped in social workers who are attending to the homeless to try and reunite them with their families.
Tiva says the number of people they are currently housing has decreased because of this.
He told Observer that those who cannot be reunited with their families are being empowered with skills that will be of assistance to them after the lockdown.
“We have various skills that are being offered to homeless people, and some of them are assisted with finishing their basic education.”
Tiva says there are instances where they referred some of the people to the Department of Economic Development after they ended up on the street because of businesses that failed.
“This is just one of the ways in which we are trying to offer them permanent solutions that will sustain them beyond the lockdown. By law we are not obliged to accommodate homeless people under normal circumstances, only victims of abuse and children. This is why we are doing our best while they are still with us.”
Tiva says the Department of Health and the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (Sanca) are also assisting those who suffer from drug abuse.
“We are trying to rehabilitate them. If all fails on our side, they are admitted to the Seshego Treatment Centre.”
Story: Umpha Manenzhe