CAPE TOWN - They're out in the cold with nothing.
But homeless people in Cape Town can be fined merely for sleeping on the streets.
The City's received complaints that the destitute are obstructing pavements and contravening by-laws.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane has tweeted that this doesn't reflect what the party stands for.
He says he's communicating with the Cape Town mayor to look into the matter.
According to figures from the Western Cape government, 4,800 people are homeless in the greater Cape Town area.
Of this figure, 700 can be found in the CBD.
But the City can penalise those sleeping outside for breaking by-laws.
Someone could, for example, be fined R300 for sleeping in a doorway.
Starting a fire carries a fine of R1,500 and littering R500.
The City insists it's not targetting those sleeping rough, and claims it's actually helping homeless people, by creating safe spaces for them.
“We have created a space where people can easily access such assistance such as showers, toilets and accommodation. They can structure the accommodation as they see fit. And sleep with who they want to.
"We are fairly lenient on the rules, plug them into job opportunities. Reintegration and counselling. Including personal grooming, I don’t know of any other local authority that has gone to that level to accommodate homeless people," said the City of Cape Town's JP Smith.
The EFF leader Julius Malema was scathing of the City.