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"WE MUST ALL WORK TOWARDS A MORE EQUAL SOCIETY" (Bill of Rights, King Report, Corporate Law South Africa) - 18 June 2018

This petition is for a permanent homeless shelter with a soup kitchen in Fish Hoek South Africa.

It has been a bitterly cold and wet start to the winter for the homeless in Fish Hoek, Cape Town, South Africa, with temperatures dropping to 11 degrees. This has been accompanied by strong winds which significantly reduce the average temperature even more. Our pleas for help were printed out and handed to all councilors at the Cape Town City Council Offices to house the homeless in the local empty council-owned caravan park which has a satellite law enforcement office right next door. The official response by the Council was that bylaws prevent them from providing the temporary relief sought in this petition. Please see correspondence below and SEESworld's response. We found over 50 homeless individuals across Fish Hoek, some ironically sleeping outside the local council office.

Attached is the link to the full article that shows pictures of the empty council caravan park with ablution facilities (warm showers and fresh water). The park offers ample space to house the homeless in emergency tents until a more permanent solution is found. There are council vehicles and staff present at the caravan park everyday, including Saturdays and Sundays, but not a single occupant. The Council Hall is also empty and locked each night, even though it is another option for temporary shelter that we are urgently putting forward. The only response we did witness to the plight of the homeless was law enforcement officers chasing the homeless away from their sleeping areas threatening to arrest them if they do not comply.

According to a Canadian report, Housing Homeless Costs Less, the cost of providing a permanent shelter for the homeless is lower compared to law enforcement and health related costs incurred by not housing them. Therefore, in Fish Hoek, housing the homeless would cost the government less while simultaneously having a positive impact on the value of property.

At approximately 2 pm on the 14th June 2018 SEESworld spoke to a homeless man in Fish Hoek who lives next to the Nedbank ATM. He is clearly struggling in the cold and seems to suffer from mental illness, and has a grim, icy Cape Town winter lying ahead of him. He confirmed that he is South African and needs help. Nedbank's profit for 2017 was eleven thousand seven hundred million Rand, and corporate profit increases over the last few years have been accompanied by rising homelessness in South Africa. More than a decade ago, the King Report was commissioned which demanded strong corporate governance. The Bill of Rights was written into South African Corporate Law in 2008 which meant that Corporations such as Nedbank are responsible for the well-being of everyone within the communities within which they trade.

Mainstream newspaper editors in South Africa regularly inhibit reporters from publishing the fallout of influential corporations' contempt of law, which has been a contributing factor to socioeconomic crime in South Africa ballooning to pandemic proportions. Pensioners and the homeless, the most vulnerable members in our community, feel the brunt of what is in effect human rights violations by corporations due to lack of proper corporate governance, with a weak government sitting and watching as crimes against humanity unfold in front of their very eyes.

Alcohol and drugs are used by a small number of the homeless to mask the pain of economic crime enforced upon them by living in what has been cited by The University of Witwatersrand as the most unequal society in the world. The fact the homeless abuse substances is very often used against them by some public officials, and the real perpetrators of economic crime are protected, even supported, by these very same officials and news media. This attitude by officials and the media fuels some locals to blame the homeless for the situation they have been pushed into ─ a scenario comparable to implying that rape victims invited the crime perpetrated against them by what they were wearing. Drug abuse and homelessness take place under aggravating circumstances created by a handful of companies taking 90 percent of the money out of communities on a daily basis, leaving hardly anything for the poor and middle class South Africa.

The homeless individuals we spoke to told us that law enforcement constantly chases them away, and that the only response from local council to their plight is to inform the community not to give the homeless anything as "they are all on drugs". The nearest shelters in Kalk Bay and Simon's Town are full and the homeless have to pay to sleep there, with no access during the day, therefore no refuge during the day on rainy days.

We are urgently calling on Nedbank, the Minister of Social Services and Cape Town City Council to intervene to arrange temporary shelter with a soup kitchen for these homeless individuals during the cold, wet weather Cape Town is currently facing, until a longer term solution (in the form of a homeless shelter in Fish Hoek) has been effected. Homelessness in Fish Hoek is sharply on the rise, and the lack of structures to provide aid and support is pushing the most marginalised in our communities deeper into an abyss.

The community members volunteering to help do not have enough emotional and financial resources left to carry the burden on their own. Many churches in the area are trying hard to offer relief.

Fish Hoek Locals are approached daily by hungry pensioners and homeless people for help!

We have been informed that the Bible Institute provides a warm meal on Sundays for all of them, with another church providing a meal on Wednesdays. Individuals in Fish Hoek like Rose, Audrey, Bernard and Nivan and many others I have heard of whose names I don't know, fight for the homeless all the time. Mrs McCready of Third Crescent in Fish Hoek has, for more than ten years, been making sandwiches for the homeless  every single morning. This wonderful Lady is reluctantly retiring at the end of this month, Mrs McCready turns 82 this year.

We propose that the permanent Fish Hoek shelter be called the McCready Centre of Hope, and request that Nedbank funds the centre, becoming the new role model for other banks.

We have approached Fish Hoek Shoprite, Pick n Pay and Spar to ask for daily produce supply to the proposed soup kitchen. We will update this petition with their response.

We have lodged a case with The Human Rights Commisioner, the Honorable Chris Nissen, who has agreed to take the case of all the homeless in Fish Hoek. This petition will also be presented  to every church leader in Fish Hoek before Sunday 24th June.

The commisionner has agreed to come to Fish Hoek next week to meet with all church and community leaders.

Councils Response:

Dear Mario

 The street people reintegration unit is very well aware of the growing population of street people in Fish Hoek, we social services outreach in the area on a weekly basis and operations with Law Enforcement with the aim of reducing the number of people on the street as per our mandate. Our policy is very clear in terms of this administration’s responsibility towards street people. It spells out what we have committed to, including compiling a database of street people, facilitating access to shelters; identity documents and social grants; access to temporary work opportunities through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP); relocation to their places of origin and / or relocation with family. Our Street People Reintegration Unit engages with individuals on a daily basis and are very well aware of the street people in Fish Hoek and surrounding areas – sadly, very few people accept the offers of our social assistance.

 The City cannot support the erection of temporary tents at the caravan park in Fish Hoek as our mandate is to reduce the number of people on the street and erection of tents and temporary structures is against our by-laws.

 We’ve have activated our annual Winter Readiness programme that sees the City make available aid to 17 qualifying shelters to help them cope with the increased number of people seeking shelter during this time of year. All street people engaged are offered access to accommodation this does include Happy Valley and Kalk Bay Haven and 15 others further afield. We will again make contact with the street people in Fish Hoek to offer access to shelters.

 The truth is that while there are many heart-breaking reasons why people end up on the street, there is help available to those who want it, but this is an entirely voluntary process. The City cannot force anyone to take up its offers of assistance. 

 Then City does not encourage giving hand-outs to street people as by directly giving handouts to street people, the public unwittingly encourage destitute persons to remain on the street and reject offers of social assistance from the Street People Programme.

 These direct donations may also be supporting: 

 1.      Gang activity

2.      Drug abuse

3.      Selling of illegal substances

4.      Chronic homelessness

5.      Keeping children on the street / truancy

6.      Erection of illegal structures

7.      Degradation of the environmental health of streets and other open spaces

 To make a change in the lives of street people and the environment, the City encourages residents to give responsibly by donating to shelters and organisations working with street people.Registered shelters can be accessed via: reintegration team will visit the area to offer shelter through our winter readiness programme to those that are occupying the empty council owned caravan park on the beach.

SEESworld response to Council:

Dear Lorraine

The Kalk Bay shelter and Happy Valley is full as Council is well aware of and it has started raining here in Fish Hoek again. These victims' immediate needs are:

1. One warm plate of food a day
2. Immediate shelter

The remedies you have been offering in the past have not contributed to solving the problem as homelessness is rising.Your remedies unintentionally exasperate the problem as they do not take into account the following very important considerations:

The Fish Hoek homeless have lost hope, not just homes;

 1. They are on the street due to 50 years of corporate injustice in South Africa with most landlords now following this lead ─ victims of homelessness do not have a burning desire to be drugs dealers, use drugs or steal. They are not born like this.

2. They are all locals and there is no local shelter or anything even close by available to them.

3. Grants do not even cover the cost of basic food for the month.

4. They are separated from family by death or irreparable differences, which take a long time to repair.

5. Most cannot work until the psychological trauma inflicted upon them over their lifespans has healed.

Blaming the victims and quoting by-laws reinforces the economic injustice ─ the root cause of the problem that has pushed all of these South Africans onto the street (the circumstances that led them to crime and drugs, and continue to do so on an increasing scale). Continuing to deny the facts puts you on the same side of the actual perpetrators of economic crime, a position I am sure you do not want to fill.

Constitutional law, the supreme law of our country, supersedes the by-law which you claim prevents you to act. Can I ask you to immediately divert the extra aid you are referring to, to where it is needed the most ─ the points mentioned in no. 1 and 2. We need an immediate short term solution in Fish Hoek this week, as well as a long term solution - a permanent shelter IN Fish Hoek.

We can get supermarkets here to work with us, but first and foremost you need to make a place available in Fish Hoek right now. These people are locals, many have confirmed that to me. We can go and take a walk this evening to confirm all of this.You must provide a solution to this problem NOW. SEESworld code is search engine optimised and I will tag each and every single person's name to the outcome of this matter,  which then becomes your resume.

I will not sit idly by whilst victims freeze to death outside and the middle class here suffers the brunt of what is in effect economic crime. All this while the solutions that you hold the key for, are right next door.

Yours Most Sincerely