THE Pietermaritzburg Agency of Community Social Action (Pacsa) released a statement rejecting the ongoing “marginalisation” of vulnerable members of the community and the use of the term “beggars” in a municipal notice, clearly stating that this goes against their call for justice, equity and equality. Pacsa, which defines itself as an organisation that advocates for and supports marginalised people in the uMgungundlovu District, said they released the statement after seeing the Msunduzi Municipal Notice No. 89 of 2012 General By-laws which warned the public that supporting beggars on public roads is in contravention of municipal by-laws. In the statement, the organisation explained that they find the labelling of fellow citizens as “beggars” questionable and deeply troubling, especially coming from an arm of state that is supposed to defend equality and justice. Further they said they believe that the by-laws criminalise the poor while not addressing the underlying issues that result in the poor, mainly young people, resorting to being on the streets and seeking help from the public. In their statement, the organisation said they acknowledge and believe that there are real and fundamental socio-economic issues that Msunduzi Municipality needs to address, such as youth unemployment, limited recreational facilities, and an increasing number of drug dealers, this as a result of political and police complacency and corroboration with criminals.“As an organisation that has fought for the rights of people in the uMgungundlovu and KZN Midlands area since 1979, we cannot turn a blind eye when such a miscarriage of justice is perpetuated by the Msunduzi Municipality. “In reality, it is the Msunduzi Municipality, the uMgungundlovu District Municipality and the KZN provincial government whose administration should be criminalised for failing the poor,” read the statement. The organisation emphasised that it remains unapologetic about supporting those individuals that feel like the system is against them. Pacsa further said that, without a doubt, it will continue to walk with poor members of society who are forced to brave the indignity of begging and harsh weather conditions so that they can earn a pittance that will help them survive the harsh realities of their everyday life. “We need to protect their dignity, after all we are all God’s creations, so who are we to judge other people’s circumstances? “Citizens need to make a different by showing and offering love instead of supporting oppressive by-laws that criminalise their way of making a living,” read the statement.