SAHRC to probe decision to fine homeless

JOHANNESBURG - The Human Rights Commission is probing the City of Cape Town’s decision, to fine homeless people for sleeping on the streets.

They face penalties of up to R1,500 for offences such as obstructing pavements and doorways.

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The outdated and, arguably, callous by-law, means the very people who have almost nothing are having to pay up or face jail time.

Some homeless people say they’re being treated like the dregs of society.

The city is adamant that it’s playing its part in accommodating those who live on the streets.

JP Smith from the City of Cape Town says, “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."

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"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."

 Human Rights Commissioner Chris Nissen says the city needs to find new strategies to deal with the homeless in a more humane manner.


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