Homeless people living in central Harare will be moved to safer and decent accommodation, sent to school if the right age and trained to earn a living if adults under a co-ordinated effort by Government, police, the city council and other responsible authorities.
This will not only give the homeless a new start, and remove them from those who may victimise them, especially children, but also remove the need to live a life of crime just to get enough to eat, with some people living on the streets blamed for muggings, thefts from motor vehicles and snatching handbags and food, mainly from women. Government has now working with strategic social development partners and local authorities have since established safe homes for people living on the streets. Harare Provincial Development Coordinator Mr Tafadzwa Muguti yesterday said his staff would be supporting the efforts of the provincial Department of Social Welfare, the police, City of Harare and other responsible authorities to relocate all people living on the streets to safer and more decent accommodation. Last year, over 100 homeless children were taken into shelters at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown at centres including Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre, Mt Hampden Youth Training Centre, Northcot Training Institution, Jamaica Inn and Beatrice Rehabilitation Centre.
“This exercise to round up all children and adults living on the streets has now commenced and we urge the public to be supportive of this exercise and report any children or adults who might need to be relocated to these safe homes.
“It is important to note and inform the public that all the people taken to the safe homes are being fed adequately and empowered with vocational skills that they can use in future to sustain themselves and improve their livelihoods,” he said.
However, Mr Muguti said many of the street people go back to the streets, while some have sold their blankets and other supportive materials handed over to them by well-wishers when they got into the boarding.
He further said that Harare Metropolitan Province seeks to improve the image of central Harare and the emerging commercial districts in Chitungwiza, Epworth and Ruwa.
“We value the support that all developmental partners and religious organisations are providing Government in a quest to reform lives and make our province a better home for us all.
“Many complaints have arisen that people living on the streets including children are engaging in the abuse of substances such as glue and dagga, gang rape of young girls whilst the boys are being sodomised, stealing from parked vehicles, harassing pedestrians and snatching food from people,” he said.
There are also concerns that some motorists were abusing children living in the streets.
“We also express displeasure and concern from reports that are coming through the Provincial Social Welfare Officer that there are some motorists who are now picking up these street children especially boys and abusing them in their cars, homes and secluded places.
“This is truly sad and unacceptable in this New Dispensation. We urge the public and the victims of such abuse to report these activities to the nearest police station or reach out to the Social Welfare offices in Harare,” said Mr Muguti.