The Msunduzi Municipality is looking after hundreds of homeless young people during the national lockdown. Furthermore, the municipality plans to assist others with higher education opportunities.
The municipality is currently accommodating 350 homeless young people, 50 women and 300 men. Overall, 700 homeless people were removed from the city’s streets and placed in shelters during the lockdown. Mzimkhulu Thebolla, Msunduzi Mayor said, initially, the council had targeted to assist about 30% of the homeless population with rehabilitation, but due to the response of young adults to rehabilitation, many more could be assisted.
“We had planned to assist about 30% of these young adults. Remember that the reason they were there was not to rehabilitate them but rather to keep them and the public safe during the lockdown. There are many who have responded well to the efforts to help them, and we are looking to have them working under the Expanded Public Works Programme. In some of the city’s streets where these individuals are working, the streets are much cleaner,” he said.
Thebolla said the city had accessed high school records of some and found that they had done well and would, therefore, assist them further. “There are individuals there who scored four or five distinctions and for one reason or another, they ended up on the street. We are looking to assist them,” he said.
Heeding the easing of regulations, the city had noticed a new influx of homeless people. According to Thebolla, “During the lockdown, the number of homeless people had declined drastically. But we are concerned about the arrival of new homeless people, according to Safe City (an organisation that runs CCTV cameras in the city), 70% of those that are currently on the street since the easing of the lockdown are new people”.