WATCH: Observatory pavement dwellers fined for contravening City by-laws
The City issued each with a R300 fine on Wednesday, saying they had been in contravention of its by-laws for several months.
But Barbara Vuza, spokesperson for the group calling themselves Singabalapha, said they could not be removed as they were not homeless but had been residing in the same area since October.
“(The City's) next step is to evict us. Where do we go from here? This is our home,” she said.
Congregating opposite a nearby shopping centre and take-aways, the group originate from Langa, Gugulethu, Nyanga East and Khayelitsha.
Sinazo Jordan said they were constantly harassed by law enforcement officials.
“There are 21 tents with at least 50 occupants including children, women, as well as chronically sick and elderly people.
"As it stands, law enforcement is assaulting the occupants and arresting others,” Jordan said.
Richard Bosman, the City's executive director for safety and security, said the group had been in contravention of by-laws “since their eviction and subsequent demolition of Arcadia Place - the building that they had illegally occupied”.
Bosman said the City had repeatedly tried to resolve the "untenable" situation, as there had been ongoing complaints from residents.
“Law enforcement officers visited the site on Tuesday to consult with the illegal occupants encamped on the sidewalk in Observatory, and to issue compliance notices in terms of the relevant by-laws, affording the occupants an opportunity to remove their belongings and clear the sidewalk,” he said.
Officers returned on Wednesday, Bosman added, and issued 21 fines for the contravention of a City by-law relating to streets and public places.