Scores of homeless people, accommodated at the Tshwane temporary shelter in Pretoria West, are calling on the government to provide them with more blankets and warm water.
This is in an attempt to enable them to overcome the cold front that’s continuing to hit most parts of the country since Thursday.
About 280 homeless people have been accommodated at the facility since lockdown as government attempts to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Homeless people in Pretoria are urged to keep warm amid cold front:
The groups were initially living in the streets, on pavements, abandoned and dilapidated buildings and the city parks. The cold weather condition has left many having to face the winter season without sufficient clothes or blankets.
Their only option now is to fetch woods in the nearby bushes to make fire in order to beat the icy cold nights.
They’re appealing to the government for more aid.
“Life is tough here because when you wake up in the morning, the grass is iced so you can’t even sleep. By the time you wake up, there’s ice; the mattress is wet with water. You can’t sleep well because there are no blankets. It’s very, very cold here. So, we are saying government must make a plan,” said one of the homeless people.
It has since emerged that despite the shortage of blankets and mattresses, some have resorted to allegedly selling their stuff. This is in order to provide for their families back home, while others use the money to maintain their drug habit lifestyles.
“The reasons why people end up selling blankets is because they want to get toiletries because it’s more than three months since we are accommodated here by government and we thought they will provide. Maybe it is providing, but those things end up somewhere. It’s an assumption. But even if they do, the blankets are of low quality so please,” another homeless said.
According to the centre manager, Buurman Magaela, plans are under way to finalise the procurement for additional blankets.
“At the moment, I busy arranging more blankets. They received some two weeks ago though some are said to be selling them, but that’s not our focus because others need blankets right now. It’s very cold here. Even I leave this place very late sometimes. I’m experiencing cold even myself.”
The showers at the facility are also not functional and there’s no hot for the 280 occupants. But despite that, all they need for now is more blankets to keep themselves warm at night as the chilly winter season continues to gain momentum.
In the video below, homeless people in Pretoria ask the government for more blankets as they are hit hard by the cold front.