Cher Poznanovich
Cape Town - What Cher Poznanovich thought was an act of kindness landed her in hot water with city law enforcement and a R2 500 fine.

The Vredehoek resident said that on April 5, “I got a guy who works for me to clean out the storage room.” 

She decided that she would take the wood that he had cleared from there to the Woodstock dump, but along the way, in Mill Street, Gardens, she saw Michael, a homeless man who Poznonovich believed has been on the streets for about 10 years.

She explained that Michael was an artist and his medium was wood: “He makes these great figurines and carves them by hand. I parked the car and asked him if he wanted some of the wood. He took it out of the car so that he could see what he wanted, as the nicer pieces were underneath. At that moment, law enforcement ambushed me, like I was doing some drug deal.”

She said they told her that she was dumping, which was illegal. She tried to tell them that this was not so, but "they told me I was caught in the act and continued to argue with me. They said they would give me a fine and, if I resisted a fine, they could put me in jail.”

At this point she took out her phone and started recording them, as she felt they were using intimidatory tactics. They told her it was illegal to do so, made her delete the video and issued her with a R2 500 fine.

Poznanovich said the fine should be written off as she had no intention of dumping the wood on the side of the road - she merely wanted to offer Michael some wood. Whatever he didn’t want, she was planning to take to the dump, she explained.

She has written to the city to appeal the fine and lay a complaint against the officers.

JP Smith, Mayco member for safety and security and social services for the City, said she was free to write to the public prosecutor and he could reduce or withdraw the fine.

Poznanovich said the city needed a creative plan to deal with the homeless crisis.

Weekend Argus