Skills training for beggars

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Begging on street corners will soon be a thing of the past for
Johannesburg street children and beggars in general, the Gauteng
social services department has said.

The department has begun a drive to register street children for
birth certificates and identity documents.

"These are vital documents that open doors for a person. We have
partners with the Departments of Home Affairs and Labour to ensure
that not only do these children receive these vital documents but
that they are also absorbed into the Setas where they will receive training.

"We believe Setas are best placed to assist in re-skilling and
redirecting these youth," said Sam Muofhe, department spokesman.
He reiterated social services MEC Bob Mabaso's plea that the
public should discourage begging by not giving donations to these
children.

"We plan on broadening this campaign to other parts of Gauteng.
We will also get word on the streets so that beggars know where to
go to for assistance. Those who are disabled will qualify for
social grants," said Muofhe.

He said they were expecting about 100 beggars to turn up at
their offices on Commissioner Street, Johannesburg on Thursday,
where registration will be taking place.

Muofhe said this was just the first phase of the campaign.
Johannesburg metro police spokesman Wayne Minnaar, whose
department embarked on a campaign last week to remove beggars from
the streets, said they planned on making follow-up raids.

"We will do follow-up raids at a later stage to make sure that
beggars comply with the by-laws which prohibit begging on public
roads. But this is not to say that we are not sensitive to the
plight of beggars, because we are," said Minnaar.

Sapa

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