File photo: Dylan Jacobs/African News Agency (ANA)
File photo: Dylan Jacobs/African News Agency (ANA)

Homeless claim small victory against City of Cape Town on fines

By Nicola Daniels Time of article published Sep 3, 2019

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Cape Town – The group of people which hauled the City to court over its controversial by-laws claimed victory after the City agreed to stop fining the homeless.

The seven homeless people, represented by Dingley Marshall Inc, sought an urgent interdict from the Western Cape High Court to force the City to drop fines issued against them and to prevent new ones.

This will be until their next court appearance for an interim interdict in November. The City’s executive director for safety and security, Richard Bosman, said: “The City of Cape Town was served with an urgent high court application on August 22, 2019. The matter was set down for hearing today (Monday).

“Due to the truncated time frames within which the City was required to file its opposing papers, the City, through its attorneys, requested that the matter be postponed to an agreed date.

“The applicants’ attorneys were amenable to the request and parties agreed that the matter be heard on November 4, 2019.

“In the interim, the City undertook to desist and refrain from enforcing or further prosecuting fines and summonses issued to the applicants until the matter is heard.

“It is on record that, by granting the undertaking, the City does not admit the conduct alleged by the applicants in the court papers. It is recorded further that the undertaking does not preclude or interdict the City from enforcing compliance with other laws and by-laws, save for those expressly referred to in the court papers.”

The group also want the interim interdict in place, while they challenge the constitutionality of City officials treatment of the homeless in the Constitutional Court. This they anticipate will take some time and say they want their clients and others protected during this legal process.

The participants in the case are Carin Rhoode Gelderblom, Emily Smith, Vuyo Mbozi, Natasha Persent, Xolani Siboxo, Patricia Geyser and Beulah Meyer.

Speaking on behalf of his clients, Lucien Lewin, from Dingley Marshall Inc said: “I was contacted by the City’s attorney asking whether the applicants would be amenable to postponing the date of the hearing.

“I advised the City’s attorney that, if we were to agree to such a postponement, it was imperative that the City undertake to preserve the applicants’ and other homeless persons’ rights, pending the hearing of the interim interdict application which is to be postponed.

“I am pleased to advise that the City and the applicants reached an agreement.”

He said the terms of the agreement state that the City will refrain and desist from enforcing or further prosecuting fines and summonses issued to the applicants or other homeless people in the city.

Neither will the City harass or abuse the applicant of other homeless pending the hearing of the interim interdict application.

Cape Times

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