By-laws make being homeless illegal

Sixteen Non-profit Organisations (NGOs) in Cape Town are taking on the City of Cape Town and challenging the by-laws that are said to make homelessness criminal.

The NGOs, which include the Community Chest, the Haven Night Shelter and the National Network on Street Homelessness, met earlier this week to discuss the 199 fines issued by the City of Cape Town to homeless people.

EWN reported that the NGOs want the by-laws investigated and an explanation as to how they align with the Constitution.

While Mayor Dan Plato argued that enforcement was constitutionally correct, Lorenzo Davids of the Community Chest said the by-laws are criminalising homelessness and will in no way fix the problem.

Hassan Khan from Haven Night Shelter’s said that one law needs to be applied to the community as a whole, with no exceptions, and should a homeless person refuse to break down a tented structure, they should be fined.

The legality of the fining is now under investigation by the NGOs.