The City of Cape Town is one step closer to criminalizing homelessness, after the Cape Town City Council on Wednesday (29 September) approved the the amendments to the by-law related to public places and noise nuisances.
Changes to the by-law include fining a homeless person for refusing alternative shelter by City Law Enforcement.
According to the City, the amendments were made to better resolve public complaints.
“These crucial by-laws will help us to protect land and buildings from unlawful occupation. We are a caring city seeking to uphold the rule of law. That is why, once gazetted, it will officially be law in Cape Town that an offer of social assistance first be made, including shelter, to ensure the constitutional enforcement of the prohibition on sleeping in public places,” said the city’s executive mayor, Dan Plato.
“The city has a constitutional obligation to make sure that our public open spaces and our city remain sustainable, that there is equality before the law, and that while we are offering assistance to help people off the streets, our by-laws are being applied equally to all residents at the same time.”
Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security JP Smith said the City is of the view that no person should be living on the street because it is inhumane.
“Every action of the city is directed towards assisting people to be able to leave the streets and reintegrate with their families and communities,” Smith said.