Homeless people accommodated at the Ben Marais Hall in Rustenburg in North West say their health is at risk.

They say while they appreciate being provided with shelter, food and clothing, they are under one roof with others whose health status is unknown, and that may expose them to the coronavirus.

They have appealed to government to expedite screening for coronavirus.

Ben Marais Hall is a temporary shelter for over 40 homeless people.

Stakeholders such as the Rustenburg Local Municipality and the North West government worked together with a view of providing shelter for the homeless, during the 21-day nationwide lockdown.

 

Meanwhile, NGO Gift of the Givers is also lending a helping hand.

This is their way of protecting the homeless people from the spread of coronavirus and keep them away from the streets, as per lockdown regulations.

27-year old December Tshabalala from Ledig, near Rustenburg, says they are grateful because they are also provided with meals, sanitisers, clothes and mattresses:

“We thank the people who took us from the streets and brought us here to the Ben Marias Hall to keep us safe from the coronavirus.”

However, the homeless people have made a plea to government to screen them. One of them is the 24-year old Kevin Obakeng Rantikwane from Potchefstroom.

“We haven’t got tested yet and we are here all of us we are not even observing social distancing. It’s too much dangerous living like this. I wish that they could have tested us.”

Meanwhile, Rustenburg Local Municipal mayor, Mpho Khunou, has called on other stakeholders to assist in their effort to help the homeless.

“This is ‘s a joint effort of the municipality and the provincial government and a lot of local stakeholders. So, we are quite pleased. We would like to encourage all stakeholders to come to the party to help us deal with this terrible pandemic”

Government and local authorities say they will also educate the homeless people about COVID-19 and how to protect themselves from it.

Sabc News Journalist, Nozintombi Miya, reports on the plight of homeless people: