Some of Nelson Mandela Bay’s homeless still on streets

STILL UNAWARE: Among the homeless still out in the cold on the Bay's streets on day one of the national lockdown on March 27 2020 is Chwiza Smit, who was unaware of the coronavirus pandemic
HR-homeless STILL UNAWARE: Among the homeless still out in the cold on the Bay's streets on day one of the national lockdown on March 27 2020 is Chwiza Smit, who was unaware of the coronavirus pandemic
Image: WERNER HILLS

While Nelson Mandela Bay residents who would usually fill the city’s streets with activity were absent during the first day of the national lockdown, not everyone was as fortunate to have somewhere safe to take refuge.

Among those who found themselves out in the cold on day one was Chwiza Smit — who has been homeless for five years.

Smit said he had no idea what the coronavirus was and was unaware that Nelson Mandela Bay municipality had availed places of refuge for those on the streets.

“I didn’t know the government would pick up people from the streets and I don’t know how or where we will be picked up ... ” he said.

“I think it’s a good idea that government will gather homeless people to shelters.”

Municipal spokesperson Kupido Baron said on Thursday that contingency plans were being implemented. .

He said Walmer Town Hall, Daku Hall, NU2 Motherwell and Babs Madlakane Hall had been identified as sites where homeless people would be moved to, as well as Hoza Hall, if needed.

The municipality’s deadline for all homeless people to be placed in one of the venues is by the end of Friday.

Smit, who was discovered walking along Govan Mbeki Avenue at about 7am, said he hopedwould stick to their word and provide him and all others on the street with a place of refuge during the lockdown.

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