National 9.8.2016 08:29 am

KZN beggars exchange food for drugs and cash

A community member warns Richards Bay residents about feeding beggars. Photo: Zululand Observer

A community member warns Richards Bay residents about feeding beggars. Photo: Zululand Observer

A Richards Bay man warns the community that they are being exploited.

Samaritans buying stacks of groceries for young homeless men will be shocked to learn that the bulk is sold at the taxi tank for cash or drugs, reports Zululand Observer.

A Richards Bay man, whose line of employment allows him to have eyes everywhere, says women stop with loads of eggs, maize meal and oil to feed the ‘poor boys’.

The man wants to warn the community that they are being exploited.

“I wish I could walk up to the ladies and tell them they are wasting their money on people who don’t want to work and are leeching off others’ hard earned money. They are experts at picking soft targets to extort their next freebee, with concocted tearjerker stories and sad faces. They ask for food because ‘they are hungry’, but then go to the taxi rank and sell it to women there.

“Some people give them big bucks. Soon they are high.”

A Richards Bay resident recently reported almost being hassled out of expensive baby milk and nappies by a ‘homeless father’, who was in reality neither married nor a father.

A shop assistant, familiar with the conman’s shenanigans, however warned the targeted victim in time.

A social worker says people react emotionally to suffering, but feeding a dependency enforces destructive behaviour.

The moment the help stops, they move somewhere else and become someone else’s problem.

A community worker confirms the situation.

“I know these men. We warn people against them if we can. That is why it is better to coordinate efforts and work from a central point, because there is more sharing of information to avoid abuse and even duplication. When you do community work, you must have many structures and policies in place,” said the community worker.

“Her policies include only assistance to households with children and elderly people and for a maximum of three months. It is an emergency arrangement and not a permanent solution. I also screen people carefully and pay unannounced visits to observe the condition of the household, state of sobriety and family relations. Meanwhile, the Meerensee CPF has been consistently reporting illegal dwellings and camping in the greenbelt areas.”

Caxton News Service

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