It was not illegal for anyone to be homeless, Mayor Plato said, but the City’s concern was about an increase in aggressive begging within the central business districts and economic hubs. Photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Despite DA leader Mmusi Maimane publicly pledging that he would speak to Mayor Dan Plato and give the public feedback following an outcry about the treatment of the homeless in the city, he has still not done so.

On July 2, Maimane tweeted: “We pride ourselves in building a country in which governments are responsive, caring and inclusive. I am in communication with the mayor of Cape Town to look into this and provide feedback to the public including info on initiatives to assist the homeless.”

When contacted by the Cape Times yesterday, his spokesperson, Azola Mboniswa, said: “He has no feedback; the city has been providing feedback on the matter.

‘‘When the leader wants to communicate on the matter, he will. At this stage he has not given any feedback.

‘‘He is the leader of the DA, and when necessary he will communicate.”

Plato did not comment on whether or not he had been in communication with Maimane on the matter, but said: “There has been much chatter and misinformation about the ‘fining’ of homeless people during the past week.

“We encourage the public not to be misinformed.

‘“The City of Cape Town is one of the few administrations that has invested in the plight of our street people through a host of interventions in the last decade.”

It was not illegal for anyone to be homeless, Plato said, but the city’s concern was about an increase in aggressive begging within the central business districts and economic hubs.

“Our concern is that we see our street people sleeping on sidewalks and putting their own safety at risk, and using shop fronts and public spaces as ablution facilities.

“While some take up our offers of assistance, the truth is that there are many street people who simply refuse the help we offer.

‘‘The group who decline any form of assistance are intent on staying on the streets and are often involved in crimes such as drug dealing, robbery and other forms of illegal activity.

‘‘It is unfair to blame the city for enforcing its by-laws,” Plato said. 

Cape Times