SAHRC to investigate by-law of fining homeless people

Gauteng Human Rights Commission's Manager, Buang Jones.
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South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is launching an investigation into the morality of a by-law by the City of Cape Town that will see the city fine homeless people.

The by-law instituted in Cape Town has begun fining the homeless for sleeping on pavements or erecting illegal structures. Fines range from R300 to R1 500 and have been the subject of debate this week after reports emerged that Cape Town had introduced the law.

The SAHRC’s Buang Jones said it is unheard off where we penalise and criminalise homeless peoples’ poverty.

Jones said, “Commissioner Nissen will be leading the delegation that will be discussing with the city to find an amicable solution. We have taken steps to ensure that the city revises its stance, which on face value seems to be anti-poor”.

He said the SAHRC’s Western Cape regional commissioner Chris Nissen will lead a delegation to the Mother City to address the issue.

“There should be shelters, there should be other methods to address their distinctive needs and we hope that they will also consider alternatives and proposals from the SAHRC,” added Jones.

The City of Cape Town defended its decision of fining homeless people for breaking its by-laws, saying officials were acting following complaints raised by residents.