Protect the vulnerable

Protect the vulnerable:

As someone who lost his parents a while ago, I would rather have a shelter than a vaccine. In no way would I suggest people should not go for their jabs, but the best vaccine for me would be shelter, food and life. Vaccines cannot only be the solution to life. There is more.

There’s no argument that the pandemic is the final straw for all of us. People have lost jobs. Salaries are peanuts in many workplaces. The meagre salaries mean that some of us are being driven away by the high cost of living to the streets and under bridges. Does anyone care about that? Does any employer care about you? If yours cares, then you are one in a million.

It is about time that we ask real questions. What are human rights without a home? There’s been a notable exodus of people from elsewhere to towns. There’s more people living on the streets than before. One other question that needs to be asked is, how would the vaccine help those who are sleeping out in the veld during winter time? How motherly is the Mother City to its vulnerable children? Its streets are littered with homeless people.

It is not for me to describe a mother. We all know how mothers are. Those are selfless individuals.What kind of mother is this? A mother who abandoned her children.

The point I am trying to drive home is that, in these Covid times, there should be effective service delivery everywhere. As someone who jogs in most areas of the city, it is always an awful sight seeing young and old sleeping on the streets with plastics and cardboards. It is not good to see women with their newly-born children covered in plastics.

From the city, downtown, Sea Point, Granger Bay, Clifton to Camps Bay, it is the same. Seeing the buildings along the road to Camps Bay gives you a feeling that life is golden in those areas. The buildings and the atmosphere is so healing that you feel in heaven. The Manenberg, Khayelitsha and Kraaifontein atmosphere kills you spiritually and mentally. There is no life in our areas but we forge on and live the way it is given to us.

The Mother City must show love to its homeless children. Like a hen, it should protect its vulnerable children, not only this winter but going forward. What kind of a mother would tell her children that they cannot make it anywhere in the world? Let’s not make them feel they are nothing but “bergies”. Let’s take their pain and emotions and make it ours. Let’s put ourselves in their shoes. Would we cope in that environment and situation? For we don’t know what brought them to such a quagmire, we should not judge them.

The fight should not only be about Covid-19. The fight should also be about people having basic things like housing, water, electricity and food. Personally, I feel homeless although I have never been homeless. What was supposed to be a home for the homeless has turned into a dump site. You will notice or see this if you come to town as early as 5am. For those of us who walk the town and all the other small towns around it we see hordes of homeless people all around.

It must be said and stressed that Cape Town has turned into a living hell for many poor people not only on the streets, but in the townships. I will always defend the city for its endeavour to try to provide service delivery to the townships, but I will never understand its stance on homelessness. From outside and from a distance, it seems there is no plan for those who fill the streets.

With winter coming, one has to ask the question again: how motherly is the Mother City? What should the city do to prevent homelessness? It is no clear rationale from the government. Why is there no adequate shelter for the homeless? Those who are homeless must be treated like any other citizen. Why can’t we have affordable housing for the homeless?

As we preach life and vaccines, the plight of the homeless should be prioritised too. The speed and the drive to get us healthy and keep us alive should also be added to the drive for the poor to have shelter and life’s basics.

This country and this city is capable of changing people’s lives for the better. We cannot continue normally when we have people scattered all over the place. If we are so passionate about ocean conservation, we can be about people’s lives too. What is most important, animals or people? Protecting people is protecting the environment. Please do not choose, they are both important.

We need to think again about homelessness. These are parents to their children. Here we are talking about people who are on earth to live a better life. Here we are talking about God’s creations. Why are we then spitting in their faces by acting as if they do not exist? Are they in line to get the vaccine?

If we deal with the problem, I will proudly call Cape Town “Mother City”.