City of Cape Town approves unlawful occupation by-law

Mayor Dan Plato said that once gazetted, it would 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.

FILE: The city said that there were currently over 350 hotspots for public complaints around by-law violations relating to people living on the streets. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - The Cape Town Council on Wednesday approved the new unlawful occupation by-law, as well as an amendment to the streets, public places and prevention of noise nuisances by-law.

These two pieces of municipal legislation have been criticised but the city said that it would help protect land and buildings.

The approvals follow a decision by the mayoral committee and the unanimous support of the safety and security portfolio committee earlier this month.

Mayor Dan Plato said that once gazetted, it would 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.

Referring to the by-law relating to streets, public places and the prevention of noise nuisances, he added that amendments were designed to help resolve public complaints more effectively, by ensuring enforcement actions were supported by legislation.

The city said that there were currently over 350 hotspots for public complaints around by-law violations relating to people living on the streets.

A person found sleeping in a public place without authority will first be issued with a compliance notice and offered alternative shelter.

If they refused a reasonable offer of alternative shelter and they were found guilty of an offence, a court could issue a fine.

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