Beggars can earn up to R15 000 in one month.
This is according to Bedfordview resident Mr Leon de Bruin.
Mr De Bruin was the brains behind last year’s protests against windscreen washers in Greenstone and Bruma.
Together with fellow resident Ms Sherri-Lyn Croucamp, Mr De Bruin has embarked on an initiative to rid Bedfordview of beggars, vagrants and windscreen washers.
The duo said until residents and motorists stop giving money to beggars, they will always be part of the community.
“Begging is a problem in our area. The people who give to them are also part of the problem. We are not asking people to not be charitable or give to the needy, all we are saying is that people must give responsibly,” said Ms Croucamp.
She said lists of organisations providing assistance to people in need have been made available to the people of Bedfordview.
“The problem is that some, if not most of the beggars, are posted at an intersection and are working for begging syndicates. The money you give them is collected at the end of the day. Some people argue that the men on the streets often look hungry and desperate. Yes, they have to look like that because no one would give money to a neatly dressed man,” said Ms Croucamp.
Mr De Bruin said drugs also posed a challenge when dealing with beggars.
“This is because drug lords and dealers get them hooked on this stuff intentionally. They give them drugs for free until they are addicted. Then they start charging them for a fix. So residents must know that most, if not all, the money they give to beggars, goes back to drug masters. You are fuelling their addiction,” said Mr De Bruin.
He said previous convictions have proven that beggars are, at times, used by hijackers for information in an area.
“They masquerade as windscreen washers and beggars, but they also give information to criminals. The very criminals that we are so quick to complain about and hate so much,” said Mr De Bruin.
Ms Croucamp said her biggest concern was women who beg with children at intersections.
“That gets to me. Most of these children are rented from day care centres and used to beg. They return them before their parents return to pick them up. It is so upsetting, but for as long as people create the market for them, they will always come back for more,” she said.
Chairperson for the Bedfordview Community Policing Forum (BCPF) Mr Gavin Henry said members of the community should refrain from giving money to beggars as they are, indirectly, helping them to feed their drug addiction.
“Some residents think giving them a can of cold drink or a pie is better than giving money. Well, it is just as bad. As long as they get something, they will return because someone else will give them a blanket and another person cash. His needs are taken of so there’s no reason to look for employment,” he said.
Ms Croucamp encouraged residents to rather donate to reputable charity organisations instead of giving money to beggars.
“Lists of various charities are available for all on social media. I made these according to different needs and specifications. It’s important to emphasise that giving money to beggars does not help to alleviate, instead it adds to the problems we are facing as a community,” said Ms Croucamp.