LIMPOPO- The Limpopo Department of Social Development has shut down temporary shelters for homeless people in two of the three districts of the province. The five temporary shelters were housing about 500 homeless people who were left stranded during the COVID-19 lockdown period.

The temporary shelters were established in conjunction with local and district municipalities and other relevant departments after the March 2020 lockdown pronouncement by President Cyril Ramaphosa. This was to ensure that the homeless do not roam the streets during the first 21-day lockdown period.

The Department of Social Development has been providing psycho-social support to the users of the shelters, meals and also reuniting them with their families. To date, the majority of them were reunited with their families and only 55 are still housed at the temporary shelters, with 35 accommodated at the Musina Showgrounds, 11 at Thabazimbi and nine at the Polokwane showgrounds.

MEC Nkakareng Rakgoale has appreciated all the dedication, hard work and assistance that came from donors, volunteers as well as government employees from various departments, in the smooth running of the shelters.

“The COVID-19 lock down period left a lot of devastation in our lives, but South Africans joined hands in demonstrating unity, Ubuntu and that they care for each other. As the Department of Social Development we were able to provide meals, psycho-social support and other services to the homeless people since the shelters were established.

This would not have been possible without officials who worked diligently to care for our people who were left stranded. My special thanks also go to all Good Samaritans who donated food parcels and other basic necessities to assist during the different levels of the lockdown period. Once more, I want to take this opportunity and appreciate the work done by our front liners who are Social Workers deployed across the province to serve our communities. The social workers are currently in the process of conducting exit interviews in terms of the provision of psychosocial support services and the individual files will be closed. ” said MEC Rakgoale.