The ANC in the Western Cape says it is appalled and disgusted by the City of Cape Town’s “war against the homeless” after it was revealed that a new by-law will see homeless people being fined for obstructing pavements.
“We demand that the City stops this cruel, inhumane enforcement of its by-laws immediately, as well as showing more compassion by making more shelters available to the homeless,” ANC Western Cape secretary Faiez Jacobs said in a statement on Monday.
Their enforcement came after the City said it had received numerous complaints from residents in different areas about the contravention of the by-laws. The most cited was the ones relating to streets, public places and the prevention of noise nuisances, News24 earlier reported.
“We believe that residents have been complaining about the breaking of by-laws. But by-laws relating to streets, public places and the prevention of noise nuisances cannot be more important than human beings.
“The City is fining the destitute for having nothing, not even money to pay these fines. How cruel is that? This is the real hard, cold-blooded, uncaring face of the DA,” Jacobs added.
As a result, the by-laws would see those who make a fire in a public place facing a fine of up to R1 500, while obstructing pedestrian traffic on a pavement with any object or motor vehicle could attract a fine of R300, as does sleeping in a stationary motor vehicle in a public place, News24 earlier reported.
“This is tantamount to criminalising homelessness,” Jacobs said in response.
The ANC suggested that the City should opt for a more compassionate manner in dealing with the issue of homelessness.
“A more compassionate way of dealing with the homeless would be to feed them, encourage them to go into shelters at night and reunite them with their families.
“We demand that the City of Cape Town stops this callousness immediately and that it implements more humane policies to deal with homelessness,” Jacobs concluded.