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CoCT acused of dumping homeless people accommodated at Strandfontein facility

The Community Chest has accused the City of Cape Town of 'dumping' homeless people who had been accommodated at the now-closed Strandfontein homeless shelter.

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

CAPE TOWN - The Community Chest has accused the City of Cape Town of 'dumping' homeless people who had been accommodated at the now-closed Strandfontein homeless shelter.

The municipality denies the claim.

That temporary site in Strandfontein was established in April to restrict movement during the COVID-19 lockdown, but it was closed weeks later and people were moved to smaller sites.

The Community Chest's Lorenzo Davids said that authorities moved more than 100 homeless people to Culemborg, in Cape Town's CBD, where a shelter was being expanded.

He said that the group was left on the pavement and told to wait until construction would be completed at the end of May.

"There's something monstrously cruel about dumping people under a bridge, see the construction of a new home for them and then not talking about them going into the home but leaving them there and walking away. There's something absurdly cruel about that."

Davids then took it upon himself to invite about 160 homeless people to their building in the CBD.

"They've been amazing. They've looked after the building, they've cleaned it, they've kept it going, they've fed people and I must say that I'm just astounded by the leadership they've offered themselves."

But the city's Zahid Badroodien said that they never dumped anyone and the group was given alternative sites to go to.

"There's a number of factors here - the weather, the staff safety of the contractor, and also the growing number of homeless people at the area that sort of delayed the process of completion."