City of CT feels no remorse for tearing down tents in Obs – homeless resident

NEWS | 11 June 2020 10:46 AM | by Qama Qukula

Homeless people in Observatory have been left out in the cold after law enforcement removed tents erected for them by a local resident.

On Tuesday, Observatory resident Terna Gyuse put up two marquees to shelter homeless people from the heavy rains.

Gyuse is a member of the Obs Community Action Network (CAN) and he set up two marquees at the Village Green on Tuesday afternoon.

The marquees were erected on land owned by the City of Cape Town without a permit, according to GroundUp.

The City’s law enforcement officers took down the tents shortly after they were put up.

Gulam Pietersen says the City feels no remorse for leaving homeless people exposed to the elements.

Pietersen is a homeless transgender woman living near Obz Plaza in a makeshift structure that’s vulnerable to strong winds.

She has questioned the lack of humanity shown by municipal officials when Gyuse and other volunteers tried to help homeless residents in the area.

She says homeless people are at risk of falling ill without any proper shelter.

Pietersen has slammed the City of Cape Town for disregarding the lives of homeless people who are forced to share wet blankets and sleep under plastic sheets in this cold.

She says there’s so much privately-owned land that is lying vacant in Observatory that could be used to protect homeless people – who are also human beings.

What Obs CAN really wanted to do was to put a roof over the heads of the homeless people.

Gulam Pietersen, Homeless Observatory resident

Because of the storms coming over the three days, Obs CAN wanted to assist because they didn’t want any of us to get ill.

Gulam Pietersen, Homeless Observatory resident

It was such a beautiful thing that happened on Tuesday night, Terna and his colleagues went through so many channels in order to find a space in Observatory… but the [municpal] government still declined them.

Gulam Pietersen, Homeless Observatory resident

They were turned down. There’s so much vacant-land that’s not being used. It’s privately-owned, yes. But what is it just to offer it for this time of need for a homeless person that is also a human being, just like any other?

Gulam Pietersen, Homeless Observatory resident

The people that are meant to serve and protect [us], are becoming the biggest criminals… they have no remorse for what they have done.

Gulam Pietersen, Homeless Observatory resident

People are sleeping along pathways, under the bridge with little blankets, no roof, no place to keep warm and it leads to illness.

Gulam Pietersen, Homeless Observatory resident

They say ‘The City of Cape Town works for me’, I don’t think so.

Gulam Pietersen, Homeless Observatory resident