Pictured above: A still from the recent ‘Carte Blanche’ programme which highlighted the Denis Hurley Centre as one of the positive responses to homelessness in Durban.
TV show highlights the plight of Durban’s homeless
The plight of homeless people in Durban was featured recently on Carte Blanche – a renowned investigative documentary programme on South African national television (similar to the UK’s ‘Panorama’ or the US’ ’60 Minutes’).
As well as highlighting the good work done by the Denis Hurley Centre (and others), the programme also pinpointed the many failures in service provision and protection on the part of the Durban Municipality.
Since then, the Deputy Mayor, Fawzia Peer, has shown that she wants to fill in the gaps in understanding that were evident in the programme. She convened a major meeting to engage with stakeholders at City Hall. Representatives from The Denis Hurley Centre were asked to help plan the meeting and also invited to speak.
Many of our partners from NGOs and businesses were present, as well as members of the public and (because we invited them!) homeless people themselves – over 200 people in all. It was clear that, while the NGOs mostly know each other and work well together, city officials did not have a good understanding of the problem or some of the solutions being implemented.
In 2016, the Municipality commissioned a thorough research report into homelessness, which proposed concrete recommendations. 2½ years after it was conducted, the NGOs have made progress but the Municipal Departments are mostly still ‘planning’ or at best ‘piloting’. Raymond Perrier (Director of the Denis Hurley Centre) pointed out that, with 4,000 people sleeping rough in Durban each night, this meant that 3.6 million nights of unnecessary hardship had been endured since the report.
He and 13 others were elected on to a Taskforce to work with the Deputy Mayor and we hope that this will lead to real change for these marginalised people.