Cape Town – Tension at the Strandfontein sports field, where thousands of homeless people are being housed temporarily in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19, is increasing.
Late yesterday afternoon, allegations surfaced that the City’s law enforcement officers were issuing fines to homeless people at the site.
Good party secretary-general Brett Herron said: “The fine I have seen is for R500, which must be paid by July 15 or the homeless person must appear in the Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s Court on July 29.
"The Strandfontein camp has been a chaotic attempt at providing shelter. Now it seems the City has completely lost its mind by issuing fines to penniless homeless people.
"A picture is emerging of a government that is out of control. The fine was apparently issued for threatening behaviour in a public place.
“Taking 2 000 people off the street and forcing them to camp in Strandfontein was poor judgement. A proper plan would have anticipated the human dynamics and would have prepared for this with professionals available to intervene and assist human beings to adjust to being effectively imprisoned,” he said.
The City said it would first investigate the allegation before commenting.
Residents of Strandfontein have expressed their unhappiness at the relocation of the homeless people to their area, while the homeless have described it as akin to living in a "concentration camp".
The ANC caucus in the Western Cape has demanded the immediate closure of the Strandfontein temporary camp, saying that setting up the shelter unilaterally was a "recipe for disaster".