Ndifuna Ukwazi: City of CT by-laws seek to criminalise poor people

The Council approved the new Unlawful Occupation By-law on Wednesday, as well as an amendment to the Streets, Public Places and Prevention of Noise Nuisances By-law.

The City of Cape Town's Safe Space shelter for homeless people. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Two by-laws approved by the Cape Town council have come under fire with critics saying they criminalised poor people and the homeless.

The council approved the new Unlawful Occupation By-law on Wednesday, as well as an amendment to the Streets, Public Places and Prevention of Noise Nuisances By-law.

Organisation Ndifuna Ukwazi has highlighted its concerns and criticized the municipality.

The City of Cape Town maintains that the by-laws approved will help protect land and buildings.

The municipality said the city's by-law relating to streets were designed to help resolve public complaints more effectively.

It notes that there are over 350 hotspots for public complaints around by-law violations relating to people living on the streets.

The city said it allowed the municipality to monitor, control, and regulate informal settlements.

But Ndifuna Ukwazi's Buhle Booi disagrees, saying it criminalised the homeless.

"These by-laws seek to criminalise poor people. The Noise Nuisances By-law is unconstitutional; it's inconsistent with national legislation and the city council voted on that by-law, which means they voted against the masses of our people".

He said they were considering legal action.

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