At the end of Helen Suzman Boulevard, is a small settlement of homeless people that grew exponentially from the start of the nationwide lockdown. Its more commonly revered by local residents as Tent City. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
At the end of Helen Suzman Boulevard, is a small settlement of homeless people that grew exponentially from the start of the nationwide lockdown. Its more commonly revered by local residents as Tent City. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape homeless outraged over 'demeaning and vile' pamphlet

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Time of article published Jul 15, 2021

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Cape Town - The Strandfontein Homeless Action Committee (SHAC) has expressed outrage over a “demeaning and vile” pamphlet depicting naked “homeless people” used by Atlantic Seaboard and City Bowl Action Group chairperson Paul Jacobson in his political campaign.

SHAC member Carlos Mesquita said Jacobson had twisted the reality of homelessness by using pictures in archives depicting mostly naked people who were on the streets because their families turned their backs on them due to mental challenges.

“I stayed in Sea Point as a homeless man for five years and know virtually every homeless person in the area. This is not who they are, and shame on everyone that has been involved in this excuse for a campaign.

“I am urging the ward councillor to whom Jacobson has addressed his demand to publicly react to this disgusting and immoral behaviour by a man that has visions of replacing her post on these elections,” said Mesquita.

Mesquita said it was this sort of “nonsense” that had resulted in insufficient bed spaces for the homeless.

“Paul is so busy wishing them away and trying to have every homeless person criminalised that he doesn't even see that his constant lie that there is enough shelter space for the homeless is just making the situation worse.

“If he and others like him were not promoting that lie, we might by now have had the opportunity to convince the national and provincial government that we are in dire need of bed space.

“Reducing and eventually eradicating homelessness in Cape Town is possible, but only if we all work together on the same plan,” he said.

Jacobson said the pamphlet was produced by an “influential group of businessmen” of Atlantic Seaboard and City Bowl to bring to the attention of the residents that the struggling homeless people deserved better than having to sleep in the “gutter” and to eat out of bins.

“What is depicted by many of the pictures is the public indecency which is a criminal act. A lot of the pictures in the pamphlet are of people who have engaged in criminal activities. They serve to highlight some of the criminals that we have on our streets who are masquerading as destitute and struggling when in actual fact, they are engaging in criminal activities,” said Jacobson.

He said communities and residents had to understand the consequences of supporting life on the streets rather than doing the responsible thing and steering homeless people towards NGOs and shelters.

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