Department aims to help homeless man

The department of social development has promised to find ways of helping a homeless East London man with a wound that has not healed in years.

DESPERATE: A homeless man begs for food and money in Oxford Street, where he has been stationed for years Picture: RANDELL ROSKRUGE

The man, whose name is unknown to the Daily Dispatch, has been begging at the corner of Oxford and St Georges streets for a decade now.

For the last few years, he has had an open wound on his leg that is exposed and has a foul smell.

Businesses in the area have complained about the beggar, asking government to intervene and have the man removed.

Neziswa Moshesh of Bengle Supermarket said: “Sometimes he demands money from customers. Sometimes he walks in and says he wants to buy things but we cannot let him in because his wound is septic and has a bad odour. We sell food here and we cannot have him come in and expose the wound.”

Moshesh said in summer, the man’s wound became septic and was often buzzing with flies.

“He drinks a lot of alcohol and sometimes he defecates in front of our door and we have to clean up otherwise customers will not come in,” Moshesh said.

Afia Anane of G’s Hair Salon said she had worked at the salon for 10 years and seen the man there every day.

“Come rain or shine he is there and I have been here for 10 years. I suspect he has been here for longer than that.

“He shouts at people when they refuse to give him money. He throws stones at people’s cars and he spits on people when he does not get what he wants.

“The government must decide what to do with him. Maybe they can find him a place more suitable for him,” Anane said.

Mzwakhe Mpetsheni, who works at the BP Garage, said: “He is not always problematic but the problem is the alcohol. That wound is an eyesore.”

Moshesh said one of her customers had once come in and bought food for the man, saying he knew him from a Kwelera school where he was very intelligent.

Social development provincial spokesman Mzukisi Solani said they assessed every case on its merits.

“Some people are removed from the streets and they return.

“Our aim is to ensure that we meet their needs so they do not feel that they have to return to the streets,” Solani said, adding that the state did not have homeless shelters to house the people. — siyat@dispatch.co.za

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