Cape Town – The housing activists of Ndifuna Ukwazi are accusing the Cape Town City Council’s law enforcement unit of harassment following a raid at the “Tent City” in District Six.
The organisation said the law enforcement unit’s actions infringed an active court order preventing them from conducting such operations.
“Law Enforcement harassed and burned the money that belonged to the homeless community in District 6. This is in contempt of a court order that was granted against the City’s law enforcement from conducting such operations in D6.
“The un-housed community is victimised by Law Enforcement, who also confiscate their belongings. This vile treatment does not help in any way, but rather compounds people’s trauma,” it said.
“This vicious cycle of back and forth violence against the homeless community will not address the root causes of homelessness in the Mother City, but only moves un-housed people from one place to another ‘out of sight, out of mind’.”
The City acknowledged the joint operation done by the City’s enforcement agencies, traffic, metro police and law enforcement assisted the SAPS and the City Improvement District (CID) in the CBD on Wednesday.
“The operation included foot patrols and vehicle checkpoints that yielded eight arrests and 195 fines issued for traffic and by-law transgressions.
“SAPS Crime Intelligence shared information of drug dealing taking place from a tent in Tennant Street.
“Officers responded and arrested a suspect for the possession of drugs. The day before, another suspect was found in the same structure in possession of six packets of tik.
“The operation was not a homeless operation, but a response to information received of criminal activity. It is unfortunate that Ndifuna Ukwazi did not take the time to determine the facts before releasing a statement.
“No one’s personal belongings were taken, and NU’s questions around safe spaces and transitional housing are disingenuous – the City has communicated fully on its future plans.”
On the issue of safe space, the City referred to the “Budget for Building Hope” speech released on March 29.
“Over the next three years, we will spend R230 million to operate and expand our Safe Space shelters, and we hope to win speedy public support so that we can soon open the doors to a brand-new 300-bed Safe Space in Ebenezer Road, Green Point.
“In this year alone we provide another R95m for addressing homelessness – up 22% from the current R77m,” the speech says.