Officials have come under fire in recent days for enforcing existing bylaws and fining scores of homeless people.
The City of Cape Town says it’s looking for a venue for a second Safe Space to accommodate homeless people in the CBD.
The city maintains it is not being heartless and has a policy aimed at getting homeless people into shelters and then getting them reintegrated into society. The Safe Space concept is one of the interventions they believe is working.
On the city’s Foreshore under one of Cape Town’s biggest highway overpasses is a sprawling paved space, sheltered from the weather by corrugated roofs. This is the city’s Safe Space. It’s a place where homeless people can sleep in relative, safely protected from the elements.
Craig Du Plooy (37) is a volunteer here but for nine months he slept here most nights. Before that, he was on the streets and using drugs.
“I was roaming out on the streets, asking people for money to support my habit and for food or whatever the case may be. I have come through a bad space and it’s all about me and yourself. If you really want to make that change, change will come your way.”
Du Plooy is one of the lucky people who managed to get help and get his life back on track.
The city deploys social workers to space and they help the homeless in so far as they can. But there is only one such space in the city centre and it can only house 230 people.
The city doesn’t have exact figures of how many people are sleeping rough but they estimate in the CBD alone there are 700. The City says it’s now searching for a location for a second Safe Space.