Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato Picture: African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Women's Legal Centre questions motive behind City of Cape Town's proposed by-law amendments

By Lou-Anne Daniels And Siphokazi Vuso Time of article published May 16, 2020

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Cape Town - The Women's Legal Centre has submitted an 18-page document in which it details its objections to the City of Cape Town's controversial draft amendment to the Streets, Public Places and the Prevention of Noise Nuisances by-law.

The by-law relates to the management of public places, noise levels and other incidental matters on all properties within Cape Town, and specifically section 22 of the by-law, which guides the City’s actions on transgressions and the recovery of costs where applicable.

The centre has slammed parts of the amendment, which if passed could allow for law enforcement officials to enter residential homes without a warrant and demand that inhabitants leave the residence because they are contravening noise by-laws  as "nonsensical".

"By authorising a law enforcement official with the powers to effectively effect an eviction from a private dwelling for contravening a By-law is a harsh procedural consequence of the By-law and in many ways non-sensical," the centre says.

The centre is particularly concerned that the amendments are "intended to authorise Law Enforcement from ordering “unsavoury” persons to leave a particular “affluent” area should they be viewed as contravening the by-law. So instead of Law Enforcement only being able to fine homeless persons who are “loitering” on the streets they are now able to lawfully order persons to leave certain areas and not return to such areas," the centre said. 

Esethu Mcinjana, 23 was arrested for “taking a selfie” in Sea Point. Picture: Supplied

They cited the example of  Esethu Mcinjana from Blue Downs who was arrested while taking a selfie on a bench in Sea Point while she passed time before a job interview.


The proposed amendments, which can be viewed via, have been widely criticised.

A Facebook user commented: " So while the world is burning and people are going hungry, the City Of Cape Town wants to update their by-laws related to public spaces. 

"They want the power to arrest without a warrant, enter any private property without a warrant, seize any property without a warrant, including your home, and if you want it back you must pay a recovery cost." 

The closing date for public comments is May 17.


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