Homeless move back to area outside castle

Suzette Little.

Just days after a mobile safety kiosk was moved from outside the Castle of Good Hope, people have again started camping on the grass in front of the landmark.

However, the numbers are far from the 80 street people who had put up structures there last year.

The mobile unit was stationed outside the castle by the City of Cape Town to deal with the many issues which became prevalent in the area.

These included car break-ins, pickpocketing and drug usage in the precinct.

The kiosk has been moved back to Culemborg, which is also a major hot spot for street people.

Before the mobile unit was moved to the castle, its management was battling with street people using the grass for ablutions, washing and cooking, leaving the area untidy and unhygienic.

There were also concerns that criminals would use the homeless people staying there as a smokescreen to engage in crime such as drug peddling and prostitution (“Unit curbs homeless from loitering outside castle’” CapeTowner, November 2, 2017).

Mayoral committee member for area north, Suzette Little, said the mobile kiosk was rotated to various hotspots across the city.

“The area at the castle is serviced twice weekly by a multi-departmental team and while the homeless do return after operations, the problem is attended on the next round of duty.

“The castle area forms one of many hotspots in the City and they all require attention.”

The CEO of the Castle of Good Hope, Calvyn Gilfellan, said he had noticed the kiosk was removed, but did not know the exact date, or why it was removed.

He said he also noticed the street people move back and that the management will again do the soft, humane engagement with them.

“We are in promising talks with the City of Cape Town and potential sponsors to look at the fencing of that area. We will also engage the Cape Town City Improvement District (CCID) to keep an eye on the potential criminal element that could re-infiltrate the area using the genuine homeless people as their smokescreen.”

Ms Little said the City’s street people reintegration unit field workers would engage street people in the area to offer social assistance which is voluntary to accept.

“Should the street people remain in the area and transgress by-laws, the City’s Law Enforcement officers can issue compliance notices. Any criminal activities are referred to the South African Police Service.”

She said the castle precinct formed part of the twice weekly homeless integrated operations of Law Enforcement Services and Social Development in the CBD, where homeless people were offered reintegration to shelters, or the opportunity to return home. She said any concerns with reference to homeless persons must be reported to the City’s emergency Call Centre at 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone.

The CCID could not answer questions by the CapeTowner at the time of print.