MEC Panyaza Lesufi Visits Pretoria To Assess Impact Of COVID-19 Crisis On Homelessness

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Photo: Steve Mabona

Nyakallo Tefu

Gauteng acting MEC for Social development Panyaza Lesufi has lashed out at School Governing Bodies who refused to let government place homeless people in their schools during the 21-day lockdown imposed by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

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In a tweet, Lesufi said: “It is a shame that we have had to place fellow South Africans in tents while public assets like boarding schools are standing empty because self-centered SGB’s are refusing to open up schools to accommodate our people. Is it because homeless people are half-human beings? #ShamelessSGB’s.”

As the government attempts to get everyone off the streets and to feed those that are in need, Lesufi and social partners took to the City of Tshwane on Wednesday where over 400 homeless people have been placed. 

Homeless people in South Africa face a number of barriers in accessing public health care and vital information from government about the impact of coronavirus.

And due to their compromised systems, poor nutrition and hygiene and long-term residence in overcrowded shelters, they are also at risk of contracting contagious diseases like COVID-19.  

 The homeless in Pretoria have been placed in temporary structures at the Caledonian Stadium.

“Our immediate mandate was to get all the homeless people in the province, screen them and place them in temporary shelters, but I must admit that we underestimated the number of homeless people in the province”, said Lesufi. 

Lesufi, volunteers and social partners provided warm meals this morning to the homeless people placed in tents in Tshwane.

Lesufi will also be distributing food and dignity packs to a family in Mabopane in Pretoria as part of his visit to Tshwane, after he received a call from an elderly person asking for food.

“Our social partners really came out in their numbers to assist and we appreciate their efforts”, said Lesufi.

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