Oudtshoorn Shelter for the Homeless officially opened

Minister Albert Fritz (Western Cape Department of Social Development), Noluthando Mwati (deputy mayor) and Colan Sylvester (executive mayor).

Minister Albert Fritz (Western Cape Department of Social Development), Noluthando Mwati (deputy mayor) and Colan Sylvester (executive mayor).

The ceremony which was also attended by the mayor of the Greater Oudtshoorn, Colan Sylvester, the deputy mayor, Noluthando Mwati, representatives of the Department of Social Development in Oudtshoorn and the newly elected board of the shelter.

Preservation of human dignity was a resonating message throughout this ceremony.

“Dignity of a person is all that they have and we must, through the establishment of partnerships, do everything to restore self-worth in every person in the Greater Oudtshoorn,” Mwati said as she opened the event.

“One of the most important ways of creating dignity to people is to create a shelter, as enshrined in the constitution of the country,” said Sylvester. “The shelter is only the beginning. The next step is to make it sustainable through devising creative means of making it a home. It is commendable that the management of the shelter has already created organic food gardens.”

Sylvester challenged the community of the Greater Oudtshoorn to join hands with the municipality to ensure that the shelter is sustainable and serves its purpose. “It is easy to criticize, but it would even be greater to criticize while also helping make a difference in the people’s lives,” said Sylvester.

Minister Fritz and Mayor Sylvester visits the food garden behind the shelter.

Minister Fritz and Mayor Sylvester visits the food garden behind the shelter.

Delivering the keynote address, Fritz said: “I am extremely impressed by this initiative take by the community of the Oudtshoorn and all stakeholders involved. We cannot discuss homelessness without discussing families. A family is the basic unit of care; it should provide an environment for the physical, emotional and social development of all its members. It is therefore, important to strengthen the family if we are to tackle the spate of homelessness in the province. As department, our partnerships with municipalities are crucial in our fight against poverty, and efforts to get people off the streets.”

The chairperson of the shelter, Jason Pietersen, expressed a word of gratitude to everyone who is contributing towards the establishment and sustainability of the shelter.

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