Cancel the "March Against Grime" and the criminalisation of poverty in South Africa
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On the 25th of November Cllr. Shayne Ramsay shared the following on Facebook.
VAGRANCY IN SEA POINT:
This week I have met with residents, City staff, colleagues and Mayco members to discuss this increasingly difficult problem.
There are approximately 4,000 people living on the streets in greater Cape Town, generally comprised of three groups of people: criminals (who are in and out of overcrowded prisons), mentally ill or social outcasts, and those who are genuinely down on their luck. Ward 54 has two dedicated social workers who profile these people, to assist in reintegrating those they can help, which is first prize.
We are a community, we are all in this together and vagrants are also people! But if they choose to live in a society like Sea Point, then they have to behave in a manner which is acceptable to the other residents.
So here is what we can do:
If you are threatened in any way, call Law Enforcement immediately on 021-596-1999. You can also report them for any indecent public behaviour and for trespassing. If you are concerned about their general wellbeing, you can call the City's Street People number on 0800-872-201.
Since they rely on our handouts for their existence, if you stop giving to beggars, street people and car guards, they will move elsewhere. The GIVE RESPONSIBLY campaign welcomes donations to charities like The Big Issue, Onsplek and The Haven to name just a few.
Furthermore, our garbage bins often contain perfectly edible food. Please don't put your bins out the night before collection. If you can't do it yourself, try to organize with your neighbours to put your bins out only when you hear the truck in the vicinity.
Minimize the amount of waste by recycling all plastic, glass, paper and cardboard. Averda is the recycling company who currently collects from blocks of flats and businesses in the area. (They will also collect clear bags from single residences at designated points along their routes.) Otherwise you can always drop off recycling at the depot on Tramway Road near the Spar.
For those who have gardens, the City will donate a large green composter, enabling easy disposal of all uncooked biodegradable foods. (Home composting containers can be ordered from the City website.)
Then to kill several birds with one stone, I am trying to arrange a trial program with a few of those who would like to work, an opportunity to maintain the ablution facilities on the promenade and the beaches until 10 at night. There is absolutely no point in having toilet facilities in public places if they are always closed!
Next, given that we have such a liberal constitution, there is not much that SAPS can do to control vagrants. But what councillors can do is change the by-laws. So my next task is to review the "Streets and Public Places" by-law and make recommendations to council to tighten up the laws where appropriate.
Then tomorrow as posted earlier, I am holding a table outside The Point to raise funds for Onsplek, so you are most welcome to visit and donate generously!
Finally, on Tuesday evening 6 December 2016, we are planning a MARCH AGAINST GRIME. We will meet at the pavilion at 20h00 and walk along the promenade until 21h00, kindly asking anyone planning on sleeping overnight, to move along. I have invited Law Enforcement, the CID and SAPS to join us in solidarity. Please join me, wearing a white top or T-shirt to stand out in the dark and in the theme of cleanliness.
So here is what I have been doing and I implore YOUR participation in all of these activities!
This is incredibly abusive. This is racist and classist, targeting some of South Africa's most vulnerable and marginalized people. For a group of people to organize around telling people sleeping on the streets to "move along" is profoundly abusive. These people don't have homes in Sea Point to go to. These people can't afford three star bed and breakfasts. Shelters are woefully ill-equipped to deal with the sheer numbers of homeless and destitute people on the streets. Our so-called "liberal constitution" was designed with exactly this in mind - to protect the vulnerable from rich, entitled, privileged people who seek to aggravate the abuses faced by the marginalized.
This "March Against Grime" further weaponises the police against the poor which is profoundly racist. Have we not seen a history, globally, in which white people have used the police as cudgels against vulnerable communities. This is not acceptable. This is a pure moral failure on behalf of the DA and it's representatives.
I urge the DA to step in and act as servants of the people and not be patsies of the rich, the entitled, and the privileged.
I urge all South Africans to stand against this abuse. Share. Support. Write to Cllr. Shayne Ramsay and tell them how unacceptable this is.
Charl Landsberg (MTh-BIST)
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