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CoCT defends proposed amendments to noise nuisances by-law

According to the Criminal Procedure Act a warrant is needed when seizing items and there are only a few exceptions to that rule.

The homeless have found shelter on the open District Six land near Cape Town. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town has defended proposed amendments to its Streets, Public Places and Prevention of Noise Nuisances by-law.

The move has been widely criticised but the city believes it will ensure its laws are on par with the Criminal Procedure Act.

The time for public comment has now ended and the city is collating responses.

Land and housing advocacy group, Ndifuna Ukwazi argues that the amendments will give authorised individuals additional powers to impound items without a warrant.

According to the Criminal Procedure Act a warrant is needed when seizing items and there are only a few exceptions to that rule.

Attorney at the Women's Legal Clinic Chriscy Blouws also states that the Act and the public spaces by-law serve different purposes and there is no need to achieve greater parity between the two.

"This by-law and the amendments will specifically allow for the targeting of poor people of colour and be able to remove them from specific white affluent areas."

Like Ndifuna Ukwazi, the clinic has also made a formal submission against the proposal and both groups feel the amendments will unfairly target the homeless.

In its current form, the by-law prohibits certain actions in public spaces, including bathing, erecting a shelter, urinating and sleeping overnight.