'Protecting public spaces': CoCT defends plan to fine homeless people

It insists prohibiting people from sleeping in public spaces is constitutional and it will enforce this by-law humanely.

FILE: Homeless man protesting in Muizenberg. Picture: Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town is again defending contentious by-laws relating to homeless people.

It insists prohibiting people from sleeping in public spaces is constitutional and it will enforce this by-law humanely.

The municipality plans to fine those who sleep on the streets.

The City of Cape Town on Sunday said it was the only metro dedicating a budget to offering assistance to people living on the streets.

The proposed amendment to fine homeless people, which falls under the Streets, Public Places and the Prevention of Noise Nuisances By-Law, is yet to be tabled before council for final approval.

Mayoral spokesperson Greg Wagner said the prohibition on sleeping in public places was constitutional and must be enforced humanely as everyone was equal before the law.

“The City of Cape Town will always offer social assistance including alternative shelters before enforcing the Streets, Public Places and the Prevention of Noise Nuisances By-Law.”

Wagner said the by-laws were being applied to everybody at the same time.

He said only tents were confiscated, and no other personal belongings during the operation in Green Point on 23 August.

“The city has an obligation to make sure that our public open spaces and our city remains sustainable.”

The changes to the bylaws are not final as they will need to go to the mayoral committee before they are tabled to the council for final approval.

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