The National Association of Democratic Lawyers (Nadel) is set to challenge the validity, relevance and constitutionality of the City of Cape Town by-laws that fine the homeless for obstruction. Nadel is set to work together with the South African Human Right Commission (SAHRC) in the legal action.
Nadel’s national deputy secretary, Ugeshnee Naicker, said: “We will oppose the City of Cape Town by-laws that criminalise and penalise poor and homeless people.
“Twenty-five years into democracy, it is astounding that a municipality in South Africa would adopt such tyrannical and oppressive by-laws that target the most vulnerable and poor in our society.
“The by-law, which has been enforced for some months now under a veil of secrecy, prohibits people from erecting a shelter or sleeping overnight in certain areas.
AHRC provincial commissioner Chris Nissen said that all municipalities with similar by-laws were to be challenged.
“We are not going to leave this alone until we are satisfied because no by-law must violate people’s right against the Constitution.
“The State is obliged to deliver service to the poor and most vulnerable. We will be working with Nadel on how we can develop a national policy that will influence all by-laws nationally concerning people who are homeless.
“These by-laws are only applied when it comes to the CBD and suburbs, they don’t apply these by-laws in the township,” he said.
More: Cape Times