Homeless vs City of Cape Town battle to be heard in court
The legal action follows the City having issued at least 199 fines to the homeless this year for contravening a by-law that makes it unlawful to “obstruct pedestrian traffic on sidewalks”.
The fines range from R300 for obstructing pedestrians on the pavement, R300 for sleeping in a public place, to R1500 for making a fire in a public place.
In their interdict application, the seven homeless applicants, who are arguing on behalf of all homeless people, also want the court to force the City to stop confiscating their personal belongings.
One applicant, Carin Gelderbloem, has been fined several times for various alleged transgressions.
She said in June she was woken up by City officials and fined R500 for “dumping” and “loitering”.
She said the dumping referred to was the cardboard she used as a mattress, and the plastic she used to protect herself from the rain.
City officials also confiscated her possessions, including her ID, clothing and dentures, she said.
The City’s executive director for safety and security Richard Bosman said yesterday the City would comment once the case had concluded.
Leading up to tomorrow’s court action, on September 5 the City undertook to desist from enforcing or further prosecuting fines and summonses.
But later that same month the homeless launched an urgent application charging mayor Dan Plato, Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith with being in contempt of court for allegedly allowing the confiscation of the homeless people’s possessions to continue.
In October the homeless applicants withdrew their contempt of court application.