Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has again lied on national television.
Earlier this month the mayor, in a debate on Judge for Yourself with Judge Dennis Davis on eNCA with Buhle Booi of Ndifuna Ukwazi, argued and denied the accusation that the City’s law enforcement officers harass and evict people without notice or the required court order.
Hill-Lewis in effect called Booi a liar, but it is he who has been constantly lying about illegal evictions.
This past Sunday, the City’s lawenforcement officers – which are themselves not a legal entity according to the national justice department – vindicated Booi, when again they went on a wild spree of breaking down structures and confiscating possessions and harassing those living on the streets throughout the CBD.
The largest were the camps that surround the Good Hope Centre.
On a bitterly cold and wet Sunday early evening (this, subsequent to a judge having ruled two months ago that evictions, even those conducted under a court order, should happen on weekdays from 8am to 4pm so those evicted have the ability to reach lawyers and other parties involved in their cases), an entire force of law-enforcement officers, accompanied by the waste management forklift truck, broke down structures indiscriminately, leaving these already vulnerable individuals to face a freezing cold night.
The mayor keeps lying about this not happening. Law enforcement, when confronted about not having a court order, replied, as they always do, that they have the mayor and City’s permission to enforce the City by-laws.
So one has to assume the mayor feels the City’s controversial by-laws supersede the current law of the land on how evictions are to be carried out.
I am not a supporter of the unserviced, unsightly, unhygienic and often unsafe homeless encampments littered all over Cape Town. But that does not mean the mayor and law-enforcement can act as if above the law.
I have also at my own cost prepared and presented another option to the City of Cape Town. An option I also presented at an international convention, and which has been adopted by two cities in the US.
What makes this arrogance even worse is the hypocrisy of the City. It was the City that bused in hundreds of people when it closed down Strandfontein and dumped them at Culemborg and the Castle with their City-issued tents, mattresses and blankets.
In three years since, they have not offered any services to these individuals, allowing these encampments to deteriorate to what they are today, and act now without any consideration given to those living on the streets.
After a long, cold and wet night these individuals will be setting up camp again somewhere in the CBD.
The mayor and law-enforcement would have achieved nothing, and in the process have shown the mayor to have been again lying when he delivered the speech that endeared him to the City’s residents when he said the City was moving from a law-enforcement and punitive approach to one of care for those living on the streets.
He recently told the same lie to those he addressed at a function to open Souper Troopers’ Humanity Hub.
At 7pm, as I watched the group opposite the Good Hope Centre being evicted, I saw no caring whatsoever.
I saw a City breaking the law and violating the rights of those individuals. The City is already guilty of and complicit in their addictions and other anti-social behaviours due to persisting with a failed system of “assisting the homeless” that enslaves rather than reintegrates those living on the streets.
The mayor of Cape Town has again proved to me he cannot be believed or trusted when he addresses the issue of homelessness. These are the new victims of the DA-sponsored new apartheid. Again we are being subjected to using the much lamented words of the National Party:
Evictions. Forced Removals. Exclusion. Separate Development. Discrimination.
* Carlos Mesquita.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.
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