The City of uMhlathuze municipality is heeding to the call by the State President His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, to find ways to lockdown the nation for 21 days including homeless people.
The City has set aside three main halls eMpangeni, Veld n Vlei and Bay Hall to accommodate a number of homeless people residing around Richards Bay, eMpangeni and surrounding suburbs. The facilities caters for different genders and have enough space for a social distance and other amenities required by government for this function.
Working with the Department of Health, Department of Social Development in King Cetshwayo Region and Non-Governmental Organisations, homeless people are screened for Covid-19 symptoms before taken to the facilities where a decent lodging necessities, proper meals, ablution facilities, sanitary packs are organised.
The City has seen almost 100 homeless people of different age groups, races and gender participating to this arrangement.
“The City has to try by all means to assist homeless people to be locked down as well as they pause a risk of transmitting Covid-19 if they are not kept locked like all other normal citizens. The threat they pause is that most of them mingle with people to fend of some food. Some of them are street beggars. If you also look into conditions they live in, it’s high risk as they do not have shelter thus making them vulnerable to flue and many other illnesses,” says City Mayor Cllr Mduduzi Mhlongo.
Mhlongo also cited some challenges in dealing with the homeless people. “We are appealing to people firstly to identify their relatives and try to remove them from streets back to their homes. Some of them fled after the screening and after spending one night in our facilities. The Department of Health is now dealing with some withdrawal symptoms, which may be caused by being in a decent environment. The team is working hard to assist with limited resources at its disposal,” Mhlongo adds.
The City of uMhlathuze appeals to members of the community and society leaders to assist in dealing with this matter in order to adhere to the national lockdown regulations aimed at helping the nation to fight the spread of Coronavirus.