Health hazard near greenbelt

Anne Cawood, Kenilworth

The greenbelt which starts opposite Stodels in Doordrift Road and ends at the boundary of Norman Henshilwood School, is a lovely walk for dogs – and residents. I drive from Plumstead to take myself – and my dogs for exercise there.

I am increasingly alarmed at the state of an “informal settlement” that seems to grow weekly – just below the fence with Monterey pre-school. The biggest concern is the accumulating garbage that is literally thrown onto the slope below the plastic shelters. In addition the river (at the moment just pools of water) appears to be a dangerous health hazard. That whole area is clearly extremely unhygienic, with no available toilet facili-
ties.

In addition I have seen very young children there. On a few occasions I have seen enormous rats there too. This situation is not acceptable for anyone and is clearly an environmental hazard. At the very least, who should this be reported to – so that the garbage can be removed?

Please – as an excellent community-based newspaper – what can be
done?

* Eddie Adrews mayoral committee member for Area South, responds: The City’s Street People Reintegration Unit is aware of the vagrants in the area and conducts regular operations, focusing on social assistance. The City’s Law Enforcement department will act in the event of by-law infringements and residents can contact the Public Emergency Communication Centre by dialling 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline.

During the most recent operation on Monday evening, May 8, eight individuals were found at the
location, two of
whom expressed interest in receiving social assistance. While the adults
have indicated that they live in the area with their children, City staff have not seen the children. The matter has however been referred to the Western Cape Department of Social Development as they are mandated to deal with child welfare.

Vagrancy is a complex social issue, and it is not a crime to be homeless.
Law Enforcement
does all it can to
address the various complaints in respect of by-law enforcement. From a social development perspective, the City’s Reintegration Unit cannot force anyone to accept social assistance. While there are numerous options available for assistance, these are voluntary. These options include referrals to shelters or other social and/or health services, reintegration with their families, and work opportunities through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). The City of Cape Town also has a number of initiatives in place to prevent people from migrating to the streets, including the Local Networks of Care, soft skills programmes focusing on substance abuse and improved family relationships, as well as the Give Responsibly campaign aimed at curbing indiscriminate hand-outs that keep people on the street and perpetuate aggressive begging.

The City’s Street People unit will be arranging further operations together with Law Enforcement and Solid Waste in this area.

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