The Muizenberg Improvement District (MID) has taken a hard look at the social development interventions it has tried to date and recognised the need to make changes to its strategy.
Everything the MID implements around social development and public safety focuses on improving the lives and experience of people on the streets of the MID. None of these interventions can happen in isolation.
Social issues impact on and are integrally related to the overall mandate of the MID to improve the district through cleaning, environmental upliftment, social development and public safety.
Why is there a need for a social worker?
Social workers are trained to think in two ways at the same time. While they deal with issues at a grass roots level, they also consider what intervention strategies will affect the bigger picture. This in turn leads to ensuring that practice is aligned with the policies governing the sector so that proper service delivery is achieved. While the MID’s Social Development programme has achieved the reintegration of some Muizenberg street people and has supported 30 new homeless to find shelter accommodation, the MID only has capacity to provide top-up services. When dealing with homeless people and street children (strollers) , on-the-ground support from the City of Cape Town and the Provincial Department of Social Development is often lacking.
The City has emphasized the importance of aligning social development strategy in Special Rates Areas (SRAs) with that of the City. It is also important to work with neighbouring areas so the MID began working strategically with the Kalk Bay St James and the Fish Hoek Special Rating Areas to grapple with these social development concerns at a “Far South” level.
MID Director responsible for the Social Development portfolio, Marion Wagner says:
“We believe that the appointment of Marion Thomas will help synergise implementation strategies for social development within Far South SRAs and strengthen relationships with the City and Provincial departments. This will enable the MID to work more collaboratively with and hold the City and Provincial departments to account for their service delivery. By having a social worker reporting on the needs of street people and helping them with access to services, the MID can offer strategic support and implementation of a workable protocol.”
On 1 August 2016, the MID contracted two fieldworkers trained through the City’s Street People’s Expanded Public Works Programme They are contracted to both the MID and the KBSJ SRA as part of the Far South Fieldwork Project that addresses the social issues of the homeless and street children. This project was initiated and is being managed by Marion Thomas.
What impact is it hoped the appointment will have?
Marion Thomas comments that in the three improvement districts (Voortrekker Rd, Cape Town and Kalk Bay St James) who have a dedicated Social Worker or Social Development Manager, it has really helped to forge working relationships with other stakeholders and role-players. Social Development feeds into all the improvement district portfolios and “completes the circle”. It’s all very well to say that street people have access to services but how do they find them? How do they find the train fare to get there? They need to get to assessment centres for counselling and access to shelter, hygiene (a shower) and health services – medication, treatment for conditions like hypertension and diabetes. A social worker can advocate on their behalf in order to ensure the correct intervention is administered. A social worker is also able to refer to specialised organisations when it is needed so that the person can be assisted properly. This is the ideal but in doing so, the aim is to help the improvement district find a working model that can be duplicated elsewhere.
Thomas notes that there are also many overlaps between Muizenberg, St James and Kalk Bay.
“Street people stroll between these villages as they search for shelter, food and support. You can’t throw them out of the area because it is their home, they are part of the community. But in the Far South we don’t have the same level of resource capacity as areas closer to the city. “
This is why a dedicated team is important. The field workers make contact with a street person or street child at least six times to build up rapport and find out as much as they can about their needs. The field workers feedback constant information to the social worker who runs a support clinic in Kalk Bay once a week and will do the same in Muizenberg. This creates a place where people can come if they want help getting off the streets. Where possible every effort is made to reunite them with their families but they also need other kinds of support.From October the MID will run a support clinic on Tuesdays. Please watch the MID website for details www.mid.org.za) At these clinics, street people receive help with applying for disability grants or pensions, they are helped to find rehabilitation for substance abuse and to find employment. The Social worker networks closely with the Western Cape Street Children’s Forum and the Street People’s Forum. NGOs like U-Turn and Straatwerk are also used to refer clients for specialised support where necessary. The Social worker also has a good working relationship with the City’s Directorate of Social Development (Street People’s Programme) and the Provincial Department of Social Development. These relationships are crucial for when statutory intervention is required.
In the last month alone 4 street children have been successfully taken off the streets in Kalk Bay and are under the care of a case worker by the dedicated team of social workers at the Retreat Local Office.
Instead of policing street people around the city we need to give the homeless a voice and find responsible programmes that work.
The MID thanks those who have come to discuss street people issues with the board. MID members are encouraged to stay close to the work of the MID and may attend the public sessions held directly before each monthly board meeting.
See dates here: http://www.mid.org.za/2016-board-meeting-dates/
The Muizenberg Improvement District (MID) is a geographic area where property owners have contracted to pay a levy to facilitate a joint effort by the City of Cape Town and the local community to ensure more effective management of public areas and promote business confidence. The Muizenberg Improvement District is a legal not-for-profit company under the City’s Special Rating Areas by-law and also governed by the South African Companies Act 2008.
It is within this governance framework that the MID implements its mandate. This is driven by collaboration and the provision of top-up services in four distinct but integrally related areas of cleaning, environmental upliftment, social development and public safety.
The MID collaborates with city and provincial departments, state owned entities, NGOs and a wide range of residents and business people to improve Muizenberg. Improving means ‘adding to’ not taking away the responsibility for services. Therefore the MID provides strategic direction and puts focused pressure on City and Government agencies whose job it is to police and deliver services.
Enquiries: Chevone Petersen firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 463 1525