South Africa

Activists Condemn Cape Town’s Homeless Ordinance Amendment

Homeless in District 6 begins building temporary tents

  • Activists say the amendment to the city’s ordinance will criminalize the homeless.
  • Mayor Dan Plato said in April that the city had responded to 1,107 complaints from residents related to street sleepers.
  • Ndifuna Ukwazi recently announced its intention to bring the city to court to challenge the constitutionality of the city’s two ordinances.

Homeless and housing activists have blamed Cape Town for amendments to laws related to streets, public places, and prevention of noise disturbances.

Activists warned that the proposed amendment would make it much easier to arrest the homeless, as they would criminalize the homeless and strengthen the power of law enforcement officers.

Proposed fix The authority to arrest someone, including the removal of obstructions and the arrest of a person who has violated the law, may only be exercised with respect to the violation of Article 2 (3) (m). A person refused to offer an alternative shelter.

Proposed amendments are soliciting public comments until the end of June.

Ndifuna Ukwazi’s lawyer, Jonty Cogger, said the amendment was similar to the articles of incorporation that the city tried to introduce last year, and Ndifuna Ukwazi strongly opposed it.

Koger said:

The city of Cape Town has now removed street people from all public places, arrested them for living on the streets, and reinforce their authority to confiscate personal materials used for shelters and livelihoods. I am determined to do it.

He said the authority to arrest people without shelters directly and explicitly criminalized the homeless.

“This is a significant empowerment compared to current street legislation, where law enforcement agencies only impose compliance notices and fines.”

Read | “The situation has been getting worse and worse unacceptably.”: Cape Town residents have expressed concern as the number of homeless people grows.

Ndifuna Ukwazi has announced its intention to bring the city to court and challenge it. Constitutionality and Discriminatory Impact of the Two Municipal Ordinances-Street, Public Places, Noise Prevention Ordinance (2007) and Integrated Waste Management Ordinance (2009).

Eleven homeless people have joined the Ndifuna Ukwzi application.

The city said it had responded to 1,107 complaints from residents related to street sleepers in April alone.

Mzwakhe Nqavashe, chairman of the Safety and Security Portfolio Committee, said he was aware of the criticism.

“We have been accused of using streets and public spaces by law to prevent people from evacuating. The provisions of the law actually guarantee that open spaces are public, It is intended to be available to everyone. The same law applies to other municipalities. ”

Carin Rhoode Gelderbloem, one of the applicants for a constitutional dispute against the city, said the amendment would make their lives worse.

“That means you can’t even walk down the street without the threat of being arrested. Cape Town doesn’t have enough shelters to comply with this ordinance.

“What does Cape Town expect to happen if all street dwellers have a criminal record or are imprisoned? How does this solve the complexity of Cape Town homelessness? Is this a revision of the law introduced to help the rich? “

Please read this too | It is estimated that more than 14,000 people live on the streets of Cape Town

Jonathan Hopkins, CEO of U-turn Homeless Ministries, said the proposed amendment to the ordinance would neither deter nor prevent people from living on the streets.

“This is a complete misunderstanding of the cause of the homeless.”

He added that such law enforcement powers are a costly exercise and will exacerbate the long-term situation as they further undermine the trust between those experiencing homelessness and those in power.

“This makes our rehabilitation even more difficult and worsens the level of chronic homelessness in our city. Homelessness is a very visible problem, but a very solvable problem. Simply Than anything that keeps the status quo or makes things worse. “

However, the city argued that other municipalities had stricter ordinances and prohibitions.

“Why aren’t other municipalities taking on such challenges?” Nqavashe asked.

Activists Condemn Cape Town’s Homeless Ordinance Amendment

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