The City of Cape
Town acknowledges that there are over 7400 vagrants (or homeless people) living
on the streets in the metro [as of
official cited figures in July
2017]. Of those, approximately 2500 live in the city bowl area.
month more and more people become
displaced from their original communities,
are released on parole from jail or arrive in our city
as refugee migrants from beyond our
country's borders. The
result of this has been an ever
increasing influx of people living in
public open spaces, under bridges and
sometimes trespassing on private
CapeTalk's John Maytham interview
Alderman JP Smith the
Member For Safety And Security on this
CRIMINALITY & VAGRANCY FIT HAND IN GLOVE
has been a shift in the demographics of
vagrants from indigent people out of luck
and work, to criminal elements who
stroll the streets looking for easy
targets to commit crime for a living. (e.g. breaking
into cars, mugging people, drug dealing,
published by Solidarity Helping Hand
states that ‘most
beggars on the street are drug addicts –
as many as 80% to 90%.'
conducted by Solidarity senior
researcher Nicolien Welthagen, showed
that 20% of the money beggars receive
goes towards food, while the rest is
spent on drugs.
inclined vagrants masquerade as car guards
(illegal parking marshals),
wearing high visibility bibs. Often these bibs are used
to camouflage their criminal intent,
making unsuspecting pedestrians and
motorists believe they are providing a
security service, when in fact they are
casing the area.
interfering with the safe and free
passage of a pedestrian or motor
vehicle. [Section 2.1(i)]
causing physical contact with
another person, or his/her property
without consent. [Section 2.1(i)]
intimidating members of the public
or aggressive begging [Section
stop begging when asked to do so.
block a public parking space.
abusive or threatening language.
acting in a riotous manner or
threatening manner (Section 2.3(b)]
or defecating in a public place.
washing in a public place. [Section
a sexual act in a public place
in the nude exposing genitalia in a
public place. [Section 2.3(g)]
liquor or narcotic drugs in a public
place. [Section 2.3(h)]
or under the influence or drugs in a
public place. [Section 2.3(i)]
or importuning any person for the
purpose of prostitution or
immorality. [Section 2.3(j)]
keeping a fire in a public place.
overnight or camping overnight or
erecting any shelter in a public
place. [Section 3.3(m)] A
shelter is defined as any structure
that provides privacy or cover, that
has one or more sides enclosed.
noise disturbances, shouting,
screaming or any other loud
persistent noises in a public place.
or spread washing, bedding or other
items in a public place or on a
fence in a public place. [Section
or offering for sale any goods
except as may be prescribed by the
City through a licence / hawking.
means - (a) a public road; (b) any
parking area, square, park, recreational
ground, sports ground, sanitary lane,
open space etc. [Section 1]. This
includes shoulders, pavements and verges
REPORTING LAW BREAKERS
If you witness
or suspect criminal activity or
bylaws being broken
by vagrants, please report them to the
city's Law Enforcement unit on
0800 87 2201.
Vagrancy with no criminal
intent should be reported to the
People’s Displacement Unit (DPU)
so that they can help. The number is 021
issue of vagrancy and trying to manage
it is a difficult and complex one.
There are many
reasons why people end up as vagrants;
but the consequences are the same – a
way of life that revolves around no
fixed place of abode, a life of
destitution (and in many cases crime)
and a life of living on the possible
goodwill of others.
is divided opinion on how we as
Neighbourhood Watch should deal with the
vagrancy issue. One group of residents
believe they are helping
the vagrants by regularly providing them with
assistance, in whatever form, be it with odd meals, spare clothing,
money, a shelter
for the night and so on. The
other, larger group want nothing to do with vagrants,
and feel that they are a health and crime hazard
and should be removed by the
has met with various organizations
(Police, the CID
and various organizations that provide
assistance to vagrants), to assess what
can be done. Perhaps the most pertinent
advice is that provided by the Social
Development Department of the
Town City Improvement District) in its “Give
What happens when I give money
directly to people on the street?
your intentions are good, in most
cases, handouts result in people
staying on the streets.
In many cases the money is not used
to buy food essential necessities,
but drugs and alcohol.
Don’t promote begging; rather GIVE
NGOs can help
break this cycle, but need
If you would
like to help the homeless and those in
need these specific organisations offer
alternatives to giving money to people
on the streets. They offer free showers
and toiletries, meal coupons and tokens,
Pick ’n Pay food vouchers, shelter
vouchers etc. One can also sponsor
‘employment’ for a homeless person.
It is sad but
becoming very apparent that some
(not all) homeless people are happy
with the cash handouts they are
receiving and are not interested in
taking up the organisations’ offers
to assist them with employment,
shelter and social care. Perhaps it
would be more helpful by donating to
the organisations themselves or
purchasing the coupons and vouchers
etc from them to gift to people in
need, rather than give cash.
DINING ROOMS 021 465 2390 The
Service Dining Rooms on Facebook.
Offers meals to the homeless and
needy for R1. Meal coupon booklets
(R10 for 10) or meal tokens (R1
each) can be purchased from SDR and
gifted to homeless people rather
CARPENTER’S SHOP 021 461 5508
Involved in skills development and
training for those on the street.
Social care and limited medical
Free shower and laundry facilities
available in the mornings and they
provide toiletries for the homeless
to take away. With each shower, a
token is given which can then be
redeemed at the Service Dining rooms
for a meal.
PROJECT 021 403 1900
Purchase R20 or R50 ‘Donorfeed’
vouchers to gift to homeless people.
Can be redeemed for food
(no alcohol or cigarettes) at select
Pick ‘n Pay stores. Email
021 425 4700
Offers homeless adults a clean bed,
meal & shower at 15 shelters in and
around city. Access to social care.
First 10 nights are free and
thereafter R12/night. “Buy a bed”
vouchers can be purchased at The
Haven shelters and gifted to
021 930 8055
Focuses on the rehabilitation of
street people by offering structured
Sponsor a homeless person’s first
day by giving them a completed
sponsor form to take to Straatwerk.
Upon receipt of the form, Straatwerk
then contacts you to transfer R60
which will be paid to the homeless
person upon completion of day’s
Based in Kenilworth - works to
uplift street people by offering
meal and clothing vouchers, shelter,
training and rehabilitation.
Purchase meal/clothing vouchers on
their website and at U-Turn outlets
to gift to homeless people. Vouchers
are redeemed for food and clothing
at the Head Office in Kenilworth.
(above) was handed out in October
2017 by the City's Homeless
Reintegration Unit and Law
officers at public meetings where
the rising levels of vagrancy in the
CBD was discussed.
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