Activist accuses CoCT of using laws to criminalise homeless people

The City Council will be voting on Wednesday to approve the Streets, Public Places and the Prevention of Noise Nuisances Amendment By-law, as well as the Unlawful Occupation By-law.

Law enforcement officers confiscated informal structures and personal belongings during an eviction from the Green Point Tennis Club. Picture: @NdifunaUkwazi/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - A housing activist group is against two Cape Town by-laws set for approval on Wednesday.

The City Council will be voting to approve the Streets, Public Places and the Prevention of Noise Nuisances Amendment By-law, as well as the Unlawful Occupation By-law.

Ndifuna Ukwazi said it's previously raised issues with both pieces of municipal legislation.

Attorney at the Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre, Jonty Cogger, said the two bylaws criminalise homelessness for normal things like sleeping, eating, resting and storing personal belongings.

He said the streets bylaw will further infringe on the constitutional rights of homeless people.

Cogger added the legislation unfairly discriminated against people living on the streets by undermining their human dignity, and making it harder for them to survive in already vulnerable situations.

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