City defends fine to homeless man

2020-04-20 19:00
The fine issued to the homeless man.

The fine issued to the homeless man.

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The City of Cape Town has defended its decision to issue a fine to a homeless man at the Strandfontein temporary shelter site last week.

“The City can confirm that only one fine was issued on Wednesday 15 April to an occupant at the Strandfontein temporary shelter,” says Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith.

“The fine was issued for using threatening language and behaving in a riotous manner, directed at law enforcement officers.”

Responding to the outcry after the fine was shared on social media, Smith says: “I am not sure what our officers were expected to do in this situation – we cannot allow people to behave aggressively and get away with it. It’s as simple as that.”

Smith continues that the apparent outrage around this issue is astounding, and “shows just how desperate people are to show up the City and score cheap political points.”

The post was first shared by politician, Brett Herron. In his statement he says: “The Strandfontein camp has been a chaotic and shambolic attempt at shelter. Now it seems the City has completely lost its mind by issuing fines to the penniless homeless people.”

Herron continued saying: “Taking 2 000 people off the street and forcing them to camp in Strandfontein was poor judgment. 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.”

Smith, however says this is a time when everyone should work together instead of against each other.

“It is very disheartening to have to constantly defend ourselves from baseless attacks at a time when the City is working very hard to deal with the unprecedented crisis that Covid-19 has presented,” says Smith. “I am calling on everyone to pull together in the interest of our city at this critical time and to be far more responsible in what they put out there.”

The R500 fine is to be paid by July or the man must appear in court

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