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City of CT denies claims it’s ‘dumping’ homeless people on the street

The Community Chest group made the claim saying the group was left on the pavement in Culemborg after they were moved from a homeless camp in Strandfontein.

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

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town (CoCT) on Tuesday denied claims it was “dumping” homeless people under a bridge in the CBD.

The Community Chest group made the claim, saying the group was left on the pavement in Culemborg after they were moved from a homeless camp in Strandfontein.

During the lockdown, hundreds of homeless people were accommodated at the temporary facility but it was closed at the end of April, and people were moved to smaller sites.

The Community Chest's Lorenzo Davids said when the Strandfontein site closed, the homeless accommodated there looked forward to new homes, but those dreams were dashed.

They ended up sitting on the pavement, with no ablution facilities and food, and were told to wait until the end of May when the extension of the Culemborg homeless camp would be ready.

Davids claimed since then, there was no communication from the city about the progress.

“The city must just engage with us and stop playing this game that they’re the lord of people’s rights. Individuals have agency and, in fact, we have a culture of human rights in this country that we should be advancing, but homeless people are always treated as if they have no voice and rights,” Davids said.

Davids is accommodating 160 homeless people at the Community Chest building in the CBD.

The city’s Zahid Badroedien said construction was under way after delays due to weather, staff safety, and the growing number of homeless people camping outside the site.

“They wanted to go to Culemborg because they knew we were in the process of expanding, and we said it was not a problem for us and we would allow them there, but they must wait until it’s completed,” he said.