GEORGE NEWS - Certain informal settlements in George are growing at a rapid speed during the Covid-19 lockdown. Development has been observed in the area between Rosedale and Thembalethu, as well as the Hoogekraal area near Glentana.
Those living near the township in Hoogekraal noted with concern the continuous building of new structures.
One farmer said he witnesses the growth on a daily basis, and noted the installation of additional water points.
Municipal Manager Trevor Botha said the municipality is aware of the extraordinary growth of certain informal areas, but that it is difficult to address the situation in the current abnormal conditions of the Covid-19 lockdown period.
"As a rule, the municipality also works closely with the police to address illegal land use, and they support the municipality whenever possible, even during this difficult time and despite their additional responsibilities," said Botha.
"Provision of water in informal areas is part of the municipality's service delivery obligations and we seek to provide water at the ratio prescribed by the national government. As reported recently, the municipality has also added extra water points in certain areas to promote hygiene and social distance during Covid-19."
Individuals who are currently being housed at Rosemoor Stadium are concerned about life after Covid-19. They lived on the street before, but have now experienced a sense of belonging and hope during their stay at the stadium.
The Provincial Department of Social Development (DSD) made it clear that if these people need accommodation after lockdown, they would have to slot in with already existing shelters supported by DSD.
Joshua Chigome, the spokesperson for Minister Sharna Fernandez, said they urge the homeless to make use of the 26 shelters (with a total of 1 499 bed spaces) that they fund in the province. "These shelters will continue to operate after the lockdown," said Chigome. The paper's question on whether George has additional funded shelters, apart from the George Night Shelter, was unanswered.
Assistant manager of the George Night Shelter, Chris Classen, said they currently accommodate 90 people at the shelter. He said should an additional 50 require accommodation after lockdown they would try their best, but it would be a challenge.
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