OPERATION SUKUMA SAKHE IN THE AMAJUBA DISTRICT MOVES HOMELESS PEOPLE TO SAFE SHELTERS
Following the President’s call on the 23rd March 2020 that the country will be on National Lockdown for a period of 21 days as an intervention to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, Operation Sukuma Sakhe (OSS) in the Amajuba District has led a campaign to identify and move homeless people from the streets and place them in safe shelters. This initiative intends to ensure that these vulnerable people comply with the Lockdown regulations and that they are not easily exposed to possible infection.
The process started with Amajuba District Municipality identifying shelters that are safe and approved by the Environmental Health practitioners. Monte Vista Casino Hall in Newcastle and Qhubeka Primary School at Madadeni.
The first group of 24 homeless was moved from the Trim Park in Newcastle and placed at Monte Vista on the 29th March 2020. This group was residing under the bridge crossing Ncandu River. In this group there are 13 males,10 females and a one-year old little girl. They were initially 27 when they were firstly identified and assessed but three refused to be moved to the arranged shelter but voluntarily chose to go back to their homes. SAPS will monitor if they did not return to Trim Park.
On arrival at Monte Vista the first group had Social Workers and the Department of Health waiting to welcome them. They were once again interviewed, and their records taken by Social Workers. Department of Health conducted health screenings. There were two who were identified as in need of health care and arrangements were made that they be referred to Madadeni Provincial Hospital to receive medical care.
Amajuba District Municipality and the Department of Social Development have so far provided matrasses, toiletries, blankets, groceries.
SAPS working with the Amajuba District Municipality’s contracted Security Company will regularly monitor the group to ensure that they are safe, and they are not found breaking any laws.
The Mayor of Amajuba District Municipality, Cllr Dr Musa Ngubane, visited this group on their day of arrival to ensure them that they are being moved to this shelter for their own safety and requested them to cooperate. “Please understand that this initiative is being done because our government cares about you. We take you as one of our own. And during this challenging time when we are facing the Coronavirus spread, we have a responsibility to ensure that you are taken care of and you are not exposed to this virus. Please cooperate with all the officials who will be regularly working with you, they are here to serve you”, said Mayor Ngubane.
A second group of more than 30 identified at various spots will be moved to Qhubeka Primary School, on the 30th March 2020. The same procedure and interventions followed at Monte Vista will be observed at this shelter.
OSS has already received a major boost with two ladies, Zama Luck and Ruth Lovelock, having come forward and volunteered that they will daily assist with preparing meals for these homeless people for the duration of the National Lockdown. These ladies have been part of the lives of these homeless people for several years providing them with meals as and when they could afford and taking care of some of their needs.
Through the assistance and expertise of the Department of Social Development, processes to re-unite these people with their families will resume. The plan is to ensure that at least after the Lockdown most or all of them are re-united with their families. There are already few of them who have indicated that they would love to be re-united with their families. This process will be conducted following the correct protocols and concerned families will be involved and assessments conducted to ensure that the environment is conducive for these people to be re-united with their families.
- Issued by:
- Amajuba District Municipality
- Contact: Sbonelo Cebekhulu
- Deputy Director: Public Relations
- 072 660 5783