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JP Smith: “Being homeless in Cape Town is profitable for some”

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JP Smith has come under fire for his recent comments about homeless people in Cape Town.

The City of Cape Town’s mayco member for safety and security paid Kieno Kammmies from Radio 702 a visit to talk, at length, about the current controversy that surrounds the provincial government in how it is dealing with homeless people.

JP Smith faces backlash for ‘poor people’ comments

A new set of bylaws that have effectively criminalised the status of being ‘poor and homeless’ have divided the city.

While some believe that this is a necessary step in achieving the City’s ‘extensive social development programme’, others hold the view that being poor cannot be a considered a crime punishable by fines and/or prosecution.

Smith, however, offered an alternative perspective. In his interview, the City’s mayco member stated that not all poor people living in the streets were actually poor.

In fact, some have found it to be quite profitable to beg for change for a living.

Smith revealed in the interview that this stringent approach to end the spread of homeless people in the Mother City was in line with the Streets and Public Places set of bylaws which were enacted to heighten safety.

What are Cape Town’s Streets and Public Places bylaws?

According to this set of bylaws, it is prohibited for persons to:

  • intentionally block or interfere with the safe or free passage of a pedestrian or motor vehicle;
  • intentionally touch or cause physical contact with another person, or his or her property, without that person’s consent;
  • continue to beg from a person or closely follow a person after the person has given a negative response to such begging;
  • sleep overnight or camp overnight or erect any shelter, unless in an area designated for this purpose by, or with the written consent of the City, provided that this shall not apply to cultural initiation ceremonies or informal settlements.

We contacted Smith to get comments on his comments and we had not received a response to the posed questions by the time of publication of this article.

(Source: The South African)


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