Homeless problem

David Elsbury, Parklands

I am writing in total frustration as our councillor, Dr Joy Solomon, has let us down completely with regards to the vagrants getting out of hand and destroying the greenbelt in Parklands.

Among residents in our street, we have sent multiple C3s since before the start of lockdown but there has been zero resolution.

The vagrants are getting out of control. Emails are being ignored and calls to the City of Cape Town have been flagged as completed without anyone coming out.

Is it not the City’s responsibility to relocate these homeless? Apparently the councillors who do not do their job still want their bonuses and increases.

Ward 113 councillor, Dr Joy Solomon responds: I presume that Mr Elsbury refers to the Guildford Road and Dorchester Drive greenbelt. The following comments are not excuses, they are facts, with legal implications.

Firstly, rather than C3s, please log a call directly with the City emergency number at 021 480 7700, as this notice is passed directly onto law enforcement.

Neither the City nor the councillors are allowed to “remove” vagrants or perceived homeless against their will. We could only remove them during lockdown due to extraordinary powers and for their own safety.

They have a constitutional right to be where they are. Many of the truly homeless were happy to go to shelters or reunite with their families. The die-hards resisted all help and came straight back here.

Most of the “vagrants” on our streets are not homeless but paroled gangsters who choose to live on our streets. They stay because some in the community support them by putting food and reusable items into or on their bins, some feed them, others give them blankets.

Meanwhile most of them are scouting the neighbourhood at night looking for opportunities for crime, rather than going back to their homes in Atlantis.

I allocate R200 000 per financial year which starts in July, which is 20% of my ward allocation budget, to crime prevention, specifically for after-hours law enforcement measures that include visiting the vagrants with Social Development, profiling them, offering to reunite them with their families and/or a place in a shelter.

Mostly all the answers are a definite “no” and we have to leave them.

These measures will be ongoing from this month, being the start of the new financial year. We can make things uncomfortable with our repeat law enforcement measures and hopefully encourage them to move, but that is about all we can legally do.

Occasionally we are able to reunite families or place a truly homeless person in a shelter. It is not that

I am unwilling, uncaring or useless the hard fact is that neither I nor any other councillor is able to legally remove them, but we do our best within the law.