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Homeless people want Cape Town by-laws declared unconstitutional

12 April 2021 1:41 PM
Tags:
Homeless
Ndifuna Ukwazi
City of Cape Town
City by-laws
Cape Town homeless

A group of homeless people have launched a court bid to have several City of Cape Town municipal by-laws declared unconstitutional and discriminatory.

Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre will represent 11 homeless people who filed applications at the Western Cape High Court and at the Equality Court to challenge the City by-laws.

The applicants claim that the City of Cape Town's by-laws “criminalise homelessness” and violate a range of fundamental human rights.

"These by-laws criminalise homelessness by making it a crime for persons living on the street to conduct ordinary life-sustaining activities, like sleeping, camping, resting, bathing, erecting a shelter or keeping personal belongings in public", the law centre said in a statement.

ARCHIVES: Court orders City of Cape Town to stop harassing homeless people

In 2019, the same group of homeless people took the City to court seeking a final interdict preventing the so-called 'vagrancy fines'.

Ndifuna Ukwazi attorney Jonty Cogger says the latest court challenge is the second part of the 2019 application.

ARCHIVES: Homeless woman on why she's fighting CoCT's 'vagrant fines

We're asking the courts to declare these by-laws invalid to the extent that they violate a plethora of human rights.

Jonty Cogger, Attorney - Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre

My clients have been fined up to R2,000 for various transgressions with regards to these by-laws.

Jonty Cogger, Attorney - Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre

The criminalisation of this vulnerable grouping is cruel and inhumane. It's a punitive response to this socio-economic situtaion.

Jonty Cogger, Attorney - Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre

There's roughly 14,000 homeless people in Cape Town but only 2,400 beds. That's five times more homeless people than there are the provision of beds. In these circumstances it can never be justified to criminalise these acts.

Jonty Cogger, Attorney - Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre

Listen to the discussion on The Midday Report:




12 April 2021 1:41 PM
Tags:
Homeless
Ndifuna Ukwazi
City of Cape Town
City by-laws
Cape Town homeless

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