STATEMENT BY THE CITY OF CAPE TOWN:
As a result of the national lockdown due to the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus announced by the President of South Africa, the City of Cape Town will be accommodating street people at a single site in the city for the duration of the national lockdown.
While a number of sites were initially considered, further consultations on the matter have led us to the conclusion that one facility will be a better approach, both in terms of logistics and management of the site.
A decision has therefore been made to accommodate street people at the Strandfontein Sports Ground, as it can comfortably accommodate the number of persons requiring shelter, while still adhering to social distancing protocols.
The City notes that there has been great public and media interest in this issue; we hope that the public can appreciate the magnitude of the exercise to provide accommodation at short notice to thousands of people, while continuing to deliver essential municipal services in the midst of the biggest health crisis our country has faced.
The task to get the temporary shelter up and running requires long hours and a lot of resources from various City departments. The City takes this seriously as part of its bigger response to COVID-19, which is why this project will be coordinated under the command of the Disaster Operations Centre.
The City’s Disaster Risk Management Centre will lead the City’s efforts to prepare the site, which includes the erection of tents, ablution facilities and access to sanitation to promote good hygiene in curbing the spread of COVID-19. The setup is taking place in terms of the regulations of the state of disaster.
Once the site has been prepared, it will be handed over to the City’s Social Development and Early Childhood Development Department. The department will oversee the operational matters relating to the site, in conjunction with the four operators who will be responsible for the day-to-day needs of the site occupants.
The City’s enforcement services will assist with transporting persons and their belongings to the site.
As part of the process, health screenings will be conducted upon registration at the site, so that we are able to identify individuals who may be at risk due to pre-existing conditions.
The City will also ensure a Law Enforcement presence on site, 24-hours a day.
It is worth noting that, while the City will not be utilising many of the sites that have been touted as potential temporary shelters in recent days, work will get underway in the months to come, once the Coronavirus crisis has been dealt with, to assess the feasibility of these as potential permanent shelter sites. The previously identified sites will remain available to health services to setup primary care facilities in order to decant medical services to communities who need it most.
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