Political parties including leaders in the panel were Busisiwe Ntshingila (left) of Action SA, Ntando Khuzwayo ANC, Mazwi Xaba Indy Media, Sakhile Mngadi DA and Jonathan Annipen of IFP addressing homeless people about their challenges during manifesto at Dennis Hurlley's centre in Durban. Bongani Mbatha-African News Agency /ANA
Political parties including leaders in the panel were Busisiwe Ntshingila (left) of Action SA, Ntando Khuzwayo ANC, Mazwi Xaba Indy Media, Sakhile Mngadi DA and Jonathan Annipen of IFP addressing homeless people about their challenges during manifesto at Dennis Hurlley's centre in Durban. Bongani Mbatha-African News Agency /ANA

WATCH: Homeless manifesto calls on councillors not to ignore the plight of the downtrodden

By Samkelo Mtshali Time of article published Oct 21, 2021

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AS the 1 November local government elections draw closer, political parties in eThekwini were presented with a manifesto by homeless people in the city as they highlighted their plight and desires for the post election period to local councillors.

In a Town Hall like meeting dubbed the National Homeless Manifesto held by the National Homeless Network, leaders from the ANC, IFP, DA and Action SA in the city received first hand accounts from homeless people on the challenges that they face as they aimed to ensure that issues affecting them would no longer be ignored by political parties.

Delivering a list of demands for the homeless, Mxolisi Mavimbela, a representative of the homeless in Durban, said that amongst the main areas of interest for the homeless people in the city was shelter, access to healthcare, access to sanitation and ablution, equal treatment by local law and security forces and increasing economic opportunities.

“The hard lockdown demonstrated that it is possible for the municipality to provide safe sleeping spaces. We have seen that it is a benefit, not just to the homeless but also for the wider citizenry of Durban, that people are not resigned to sleeping in shop doorways, parks and benches,” Mavimbela said.

He also called for the extension and formalisation of the Safe Open Sleeping spaces to reach a capacity of 1 000 people in the next year across several sites in the city.

With access to healthcare also being a major concern for the homeless people of the city, they called for the city to continue with the provision of the harm reduction initiatives for drug users at the Bellhaven centre in Durban.

“We demand that the municipality provide toilets in at least two different locations in the CBD, open and staffed 24 hours a day that are available for homeless people to use so that they are not forced to break the law.

“We also demand the provision of sanitation facilities either in the Safe Open Sleeping spaces or in other places accessible to the homeless. Our demands include an immediate intervention by the municipality to solve the ongoing problem of sanitation and waste management at the Dalton site,” Mavimbela said.

Ntandoyenkosi Khuzwayo, ANC councillor in eThekwini municipality, said that the biggest challenge was access to the economy and money.

“We must ensure that people have access to economic opportunities, be it business, be it work, so that they can determine their own fates, because if you have money in your bank account you can decide where you want to live, what you want to wear, what you want to eat,” Khuzwayo said.

Busisiwe Ntshingila, Action SA secretary general in eThekwini, said that they wanted to bring back the dignity of the homeless because democracy without dignity was futile.

“What is the point of democracy if we’re going to be stripped of our dignity, our humanity and our pride? Ntshingila said.

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Political Bureau

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