The City of Cape Town has warned that it will take legal action against the homeless should they not pay fines for obstructing pavements and erecting shelters in non-designated areas.

The city has been criticised following its decision to issue fines to homeless people who contravene its by-laws.

Member of the Mayoral Committee for Safety and Security JP Smith says contingency plans are in place to ensure that everyone abides by the law.

Smith says, “When we wrote the by-laws we compared it to other cities side-by-side with our by-laws in terms of things like begging car guards and we took a much softer line on each of those issues.”

He says, “We know that it is reasonable within a public space, when homeless people transgress like any other citizen, law enforcement, that traffic police will give to them a contravention notice and if that is not paid and the person doesn’t appear in court then the warrant of arrest will be issued by the Department of Justice. Law enforcement will then execute these warrants.”