The City of Johannesburg says they do not intend to leave homeless people out in the cold in a favour of preserving infrastructure.
This follows reports that Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) has blamed severe floods on the homeless living under bridges and freeways and inside stormwater drains.
It's alleged that communities of homeless people are comprising the city’s infrastructure which is leading to extreme flooding in parts of the metro.
MMC for Health and Social Development Dr Mpho Phalatse says that homeless people need to be assisted through a joint effort from city officials.
The aim is not to leave anyone stranded... We're not trying to leave the poor stranded, that is not the approach at all.— Dr Mpho Phalatse, City of Johannesburg MMC for Health and Social Development
Phalatse says a collaboration between various departments is required, including metro police, social development, infrastructure and environment as well as city parks.
She says the city recognises the sensitivity of homelessness and how vulnerable some communities are.
According to Phalatse, the city is working on a finding a progressive solutions to help prevent poverty and homelessness, citing examples of shelters and assessment centres linked with NGOs.
We believe it's important to strike the right balance between abiding to laws and having respect for human rights.— Dr Mpho Phalatse, City of Johannesburg MMC for Health and Social Development
Take a listen to her explain: