Here’s how to help your neighbourhood flourish

“I told no-one about the trouble I was in – not my wife, father, or my two brothers.” Ali* was riddled with shame and guilt when the pressure to provide for his wife and two children led to significant debt. Eventually, he lost his job as a call centre manager, and the weight of these mounting troubles combined with the fear of sharing his burdens led to Ali ending up on the street.

Thankfully, this story ends well! Ali* found help at the Haven shelter and became an employee. Now he earns a living by helping others that have gone through similar difficulties and impacting their actions. This story illustrates the ease with which external circumstances can spiral out of control and lead people to seemingly hopeless situations. Whatever the cause of their problems, with the right guidance, lives can be turned around.

Businesses are in the perfect position to provide the financial support that could help to change the face of our city. By contributing to organisations dedicated to assisting the homeless, we can help pick up those who are struggling in our society.

The immediate benefit is not only a better quality of life for those in need, but also, a more approachable storefront for business owners. This will be due to the lessening of informal squatting outside businesses due to people being housed in shelters which provide them with warm beds to sleep in.

It is important that the problem of homelessness be addressed with full focus. In a press briefing held by Councillor Suzette Little at the Civic Centre in 2015, the Mayoral committee member for Social Development and Early Childhood Development estimated that there were 7,383 homeless people in Cape Town. Of these, only about 2,521 sleep in shelters. Consequently, more than two-thirds are not accessing the tools and organisations to help them resolve their situation.

That is why we are encouraging citizens to give responsibly. Sporadic, unplanned giving only enables street living. If people are making money through begging and selling the latest trinket or sticker for small change, they may be deterred from approaching shelters for help. This is especially concerning as winter is on our doorstep, and many will be left out in the cold.

We believe whole-heartedly that lives can be changed with appropriate guidance. Shelters often have councillors and social workers on hand to help. In the case of local shelters, financial contributions can assist with the purchase of beds, bedding, food and toiletries, or salaries for councillors and staff, as well as rent for the space.

One of the projects we are currently involved in gives the homeless an opportunity to tend gardens in the city and live off the profit they earn, which is deposited into their bank accounts for safety. We run this project in conjunction with Streetscapes and are encouraged by the positive results so far. In this case, financial support from local businesses will help fund the fencing, compost, tools and seeds for the gardens.

In summary, we want to appeal to Woodstock businesses and community members to support the shelters and projects around the Woodstock area, and get involved with the local initiatives. Together we can help people like Ali* get back on their feet and positively influence our economy and the well-being of our beloved city.

*Name changed for privacy purposes.

Contact these shelters to be part of the change in Woodstock:

The D6 haven night shelter

021- 4627321

Email: sheila@haven.org.za

St. Anne’s

021- 4486792

Email: info@stanneshomes.org.za

Youth solutions

021 -4628006

Email: info@safyouth.org

Moira Henderson house

021 4612533

Email: lionel.adams@haven.org.za

Haven homes

021 4477422

Email: havenhomes@telkomsa.net

The Homestead

021 4617470

Email: https://homestead.org.za/contact/

Make it stop – illegal dumping has to go

Woodstock residents are struggling under the weight of waste. We are trying our best to keep up with the demand but it is an uphill battle. In this blog post, we take a look at one of the problems at the forefront of maintenance in Woodstock.

The Problem: Illegal Dumping

This includes not only rubbish, but also rubble. The practice costs Cape Town taxpayers millions of rands in maintenance on top of usual taxes. The last recorded amount readily available was mentioned in a Ground Up article in 2016 on illegal dumping. The estimated total was around R350 million a year, up by R150 million since 2013.

Not only does illegal dumping steal from taxpayers money, John Julies our Operations manager says that our cleaners’ efficiency is being compromised by constantly needing to deal with piles of illegally dumped waste/rubble. He claims that “it gives them less time to clean the main roads which in actual fact should be our main focus.” The cleaners can spend up to ±4 hours extra a day on trying to clear rubble that is haphazardly dumped all over the Woodstock area.

In order to deal with the problem correctly, our WID cleaning team will pick it up, take it to get weighed on the weighbridge in Tide street and transport it to the dumpsite. Again, wasting ratepayer’s valuable money and the WID cleaning services’ valuable time.

Frustration arises because of the fact that “residents have bins, but still dump their rubbish in the street” and this “contributes to up to 90 percent of the dumping in Woodstock” says Julies.

How it affects your business

As mentioned before, from a purely financial perspective, ratepayers that contribute to services being rendered are losing valuable money as constantly removing rubble is expensive. Other services are being neglected in the process. Rubbish strewn everywhere is also likely to discourage patronage to certain shops, which will significantly affect their revenue.

If not dealt with almost immediately, the wind carries waste into drain systems, creating blockages and water wastage in the area. This in turn, causes more problems as water wastage is, of course, no small issue in Cape Town.

Finally, there are very real health risks involved. On 22 April 2013, a three-year-old boy passed away after coming into contact with illegally dumped toxic waste in Delft. Although the waste found in Woodstock is not predominantly toxic, it does present real health risks. Especially to children who attend schools in the area, as well as being the breeding ground for disease.

The solution

The most proactive approach is to report illegal dumping to us, or fill in a C3 notification form. This will ensure that there is a public record kept of offences for future reference. Try to identify the vehicle’s registration number and/ or make of said vehicle so that they can be easily tracked.

Make sure that your business is following good practice and that your employees are aware of how to discard waste correctly. Encourage residents and patrons to take more care when discarding waste by putting up informative flyers or posters in your business. To help, Julies suggests that businesses and residents apply for a rubbish bin at the Civic centre in Cape Town. This will encourage others to do the same and make for a cleaner, safer society to benefit all residents and business owners in the long run.

Help stop illegal dumping and be rewarded

For any report on illegal dumping that leads to an arrest, there will be a R500 reward up for grabs.

Control room number to report: 021 462 1205

Illegal dumping hotspots to look out for:

  • Williams/Sussex
  • Williams/Station
  • Woodland Street
  • Pine Street
  • Beach road/Railway
  • Tide street
  • Bromwell street
  • Douglas Place
  • Aspeling street
  • Grey Street
  • Spring Street
  • Plein Street
  • Greatmorestreet
  • Devon street

Legal dumping spots:

https://goo.gl/UoJ7np