Public Meeting: Displaced persons
26 October 2016
Rosebank Union Church
Martin Williams (ward 90) and Chair of the meeting
Vincent Earp (ward 103)
David Potter (ward 102)
Mike Wood ( ward 104)
Members of the Mayoral Committee:
Anthony Still MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Services
Dr Mpho Phalatse MMC for health and social development
Members of the Security forces:
Vincent Hlongwane (SAPS)
Joe Sebola (JMPD)
Members of the affected communities
Refer to attendance register for names and addresses
Introductions and opening
Overview of Ward 103 by Vincent Earp
Overview of ward 102 by David Potter
Overview of ward 90 by Martin Williams
Input and proposals by MMC Anthony Still
Overview by Dr Mpho Phalatse
Comments from residents
MW then invited residents to make their contribution.
Matthew Shelly from Bryanston- do Lesotho nationals stay in shelters?
MP- only if documented.
MW- more the half of the people had no documentation and most said don't want documents or shelter and will move to Hurlingham Park which is precisely what they did.
James Oppenheimer - Stafford crescent. Total garage had to keep the grass area as a park land. The people use the area now for water and can buy bread etc
Used to be Eskom's job to keep this clean. Now city parks do this but haven't done so. We have heaps of people there now and it is dangerous. JMPD came and burnt the area and left. Beyond frustrating.
Aisha - Hurlingham Manor- she has been engaging with owners at Stafford park. Most of people from Lesotho. Engaged with consulate. He made promises and nothing materialized. Am I right to say MMC have a responsibility towards the citizens? They must be part of the solution. There are not enough shelters. The police burn documents and she has evidence of this. Mary Gillett-de Klerk from Josh has a great plan for a shelter. But no one wants it on their doorstep. In Sasolburg municipality they have an excellent programme with recyclers.
Bruce van Halderen – Sandhurst- 2 ideas. Instead of cash for food, hand out tokens. Instead of one big shelter have multiple smaller shelters nearby. Must be near where they work. One for recyclers and one for construction workers. One for gardeners. Could function in the community and become part of community and of value to the community.
Ryan Noble from Bryanston – on 19 and 26 September JMPD burnt all the belongings of people at spruit park. Is this a solution to the problem?
MW- personally against it but not sure what the answer is
Mary Gillett-de Klerk from Josh- trying to find sustainable solutions to address a very complex problem and based on global best practice. Trying to find a shelter venue nearby where the homeless are found. In CT they manage to get 1000 beds per night. All we have is Rosebank. Want people to work with Josh to support this. Everyone's attitude is "not in my back yard".
Chris Thomas CPF chair. Since GL park closed we have already seen a spike of crimes. There is a criminal element of the vagrants and the recyclers doing the cherry picking and dumping rest on the spruit. Want to thank the mayoral committee for getting involved so quickly
John du Plessis - Paul's hof- we have same problems. Need a holistic solution. We need to link things together. Need to only employ people who have documents
Jason Thom- resident in Stafford avenue- Been working on a possible solution for fencing an area along William Nicol opposite PicknPay , Willow-wild and the Total garage up to the wall of Rosehaven. He has managed to raise half of the funds but still need more funds. Approval process needs buy in from community.
MW asked for a show of hands of those in support of the proposal- majority in support.
Someone from Bryanston- upset about burning homeless shelters. Problem is complex and deeply systemic and as a society we must take responsibility
Louis Moll from Bryanfern - can you make a living from recycling?
MW- yes you can.
Jessica from Willow-Wild - what about park rangers? There an Eskom servitude running through the river and with fires and pylons this is a risk. Recently a fire nearly burnt down an old age home
Need to increase maintenance of the parks as overgrown areas act as a place for vagrants to live.
Michaela - Pastor of a church in Westdene- We care for our people. How can we take hands with the City? We want to buy lands and how far can we go with the city and who can we work with? What can we do to transform? No short terms solution.
Anton- Innovation Revolution - involved with dealing with this issue overseas. Health and social development re what is needed for homeless shelters. We are from Rosebank but know there are architects like me trying to help.
Roberta from Melville- when people live on the street there are people who want to be helped and those who don't. And what will happen with them? We need more shelters.
Trevor - Beverly gardens. Worked with josh and churches in soup kitchens. Something we need to understand is the homeless will always be with us. It is how we deal with them that is important. We need to deal with them with dignity and pride. But it is not just about giving. Also about them making a contribution. Any plan needs their buy in. Must be ways for buy in and have great ideas and put them together in one pot. Need coordination and compassion.
Mark Cox from Parkhurst- Involved in an organization for homelessness. Where are the homeless today? Unless they involved it won't work. Need buy in
MW- social development have been involved
Kate Wardle- Parkmore. Very encouraged by the tone. A lot of discussion re a solution and there are real issues for all the wards. She has spent a lot of time with SAPS and JMPD and councillors. What area can we use to put a shelter? I suggested a sorting facility here and the church was unhappy. Everywhere there are problems. Park is a wetland. Any suggestions for appropriate areas?
Someone from Bordeaux south - shelters need show that they will deliver what they say they will deliver. Will they not come with their own issues? There are credibility issues with shelters. If monetize things then people will start stealing to get into the shelters
Wilson- Hurlingham manor- we have started this thing now let's finish it. If I don't want to be registered which means I won't go to the area built for me, the people will remain a problem. If we make a plan let's make it once off let's finish it. If don't have papers that person must not be there and there must be a way to do it in a good way.
Alan Dodd from Bordeaux- All have same ideas. Waste recyclers can come to you and weigh stuff and buy. Make every suburb has own sorting area and then can say we will pay you at the shelter.
Feedback from MMC Antony Still
Some people are compassionate and others are seen to be hard. Everyone wants to be compassionate. Different versions of compassion. Rather give money to solutions not money to the people living wild. That is feeding the problem.
Park rangers don't have policing powers
Seems we need more shelters. Work with people who know about these things. City must work with Mary and others like her.
Private shelters don't have issues regarding people having papers.
Spruit is the longest urban green lung in the world. It needs to have such a status and a tourist attraction to JHB. If in better condition it could be an iconic thing. That's where we need to get to.
MW- meeting closure and thanks to all participants.
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