MEC gets tough on Gauteng street beggars
NEXT time you see a beggar at a traffic intersection, do not give them money.
Actually do not give them anything, even if it is a child begging for a school donation.
This is the call being made by Gauteng social development MEC Faith Mazibuko to all citizens in the province.
Yesterday, Mazibuko told the portfolio committee on social development that her department was frustrated with beggars in Gauteng and the problem was escalating.
She told Sowetan after the meeting that the first step to ending begging was to stop giving money to people in the street.
"We do not want to see any child begging on the streets of Gauteng, whether as drum majorettes or traditional dancers.
"We understand that people need to fundraise but let us find better ways to fundraise.
"There are rapists, paedophiles, serial killers who may do wrong things to the children," she said.
Mazibuko said the law does not allow begging and bylaws, which ought to be enforced by municipalities, also prohibit it.
"We are appealing to members of the community to refrain from giving money to beggars.
"If you continue giving out money, you are sending the message that in Gauteng it is easy to make money without going to work."
Over the years, Gauteng has seen an increase in the number people begging on the streets.
The surge has been seen predominantly in suburbs where beggars believe they are likely to find mercy from passing motorists.
In 2007, Sowetan reported on a syndicate that brought blind people from Zimbabwe to beg in various South African cities.
Research conducted by trade union Solidarity's Helping Hand revealed last year that white beggars made on average about R172 per day on the country's streets .
The study done in Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal showed that 16% of beggars made less than R50 a day while 7% said they made more than R500 a day.
Close to 10% said they made between R300 and R400 a day and 3% made between R401 and R500 a day.
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