Social media is abuzz condemning the City of Cape Town for fining homeless people for various offences which include obstructing pedestrian traffic, erecting a shelter in an undesignated area and starting a fire in a public area. As winter sets in, temperatures drop and rain continues to pummel Cape Town, the homeless would require shelter now more than ever.

News24 spoke to Law Enforcement spokesperson Wayne Dyason on Monday, who said the city had received numerous complaints from locals about homeless people contravening city by-laws.

Dyason told News 24 that homeless people are erecting structures which obstruct pavements, and are lighting fires, which is against the law and the City is merely enforcing provisions of the by-laws by fining these individuals.

Starting a fire in a public space costs a hefty R1 500, while obstructing a sidewalk could cost up to R300 and littering will set you back about R50. Sleeping in a stationery vehicle for longer than 24 hours is also against the law, and fines will be doled out for this infringement too.

ANC Western Cape secretary Faiez Jacobs said in a statement: “We are appalled and disgusted by the City of Cape Town’s war on the homeless, a merciless and heartless onslaught that has seen some of those living on the streets fined for offences such as obstructing pedestrians. We demand that the City stops this cruel, inhuman enforcement of its by-laws immediately, as well as show more compassion by making more shelters available to the homeless.”

In reaction, social media condemned the City and labelled them inconsiderate. Some have asked them to explain how homeless people are meant to pay these fines, and questioned what issuing fines to people with no money will prove.

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