COVID-19: NGO pens concerns about temporary shelter for homeless to Ramaphosa

The concerns include not separating COVID-19 vulnerable people, such as the elderly, and individuals with pre-existing chest and other chronic health conditions like TB.

The Strandfontein site, in Cape Town, which is housing homeless people during the 21-day COVID-19 lockdown. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Activist group Ndifuna Ukwazi wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa about health concerns at a temporary shelter for homeless people in Cape Town.

The Strandfontein Sports Ground is currently accommodating more than 1,400 people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

Those living on the streets of Cape Town have been moved to shelters since Sunday.

The sports facility can accommodate up to 2,000 people.

The concerns include not separating COVID-19 vulnerable people, such as the elderly, and individuals with pre-existing chest and other chronic health conditions like TB.

The group adds that there's no social distancing enforced within the tents as they are full.

The organisation’s Jonty Cogger says this entire operation by the municipality is a disaster waiting to happen.

The organisation is demanding that the city immediately stop with the further removal of homeless individuals into the shelter.

Police are also investigating the rape of an 18-year-old girl at the site last night.

Officials have not been able to provide any more information on whether the crime involved more than one person but they say arrests are yet to be made.

This week, the city had told the media during a visit at the site, that every person entering the shelter goes through a criminal and medical screening and that there is a medical section that’s separated.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.