Homes are the anchors of human life, whether they are permanent or temporary, located in one place or are transported from place to place, are owned or rented, or are in planned communities or informal settlements (Olufemi, 2002:455).
On Thursday night, 6 June, homeless people were raided and all their belongings confiscated, allegedly by the GMM Compliance and Law Enforcement Unit. This is not the police, but the police must be present to supervise when this group is out and about.
The homeless people’s IDs, medicals to prove fitness for work, blankets and other personal belongings were confiscated. The Bulletin was informed and immediately was on the scene to report on this story. Allegedly, the homeless were handed four notices of removal, but all say they did not receive any notices in this regard. Another allegation was that the business owners were complaining that they left the pavement in front of the shops full of rubbish. This is not the case as these men and women had permission to sleep there from the building’s owner. The same owner who feeds these people twice a week and ensures their safety with his security company’s cameras on the outside of this building.
The Govan Mbeki Municipality bylaws state the following: (112) Prosecution of offences – A Staff member of municipality authorised in terms of section 22 (8) (b) of the National Prosecuting Authority Act, 1998 (Act No. 32 of 1998), to conduct prosecutions, may institute criminal proceedings and conduct the prosecution in respect of a contravention of or failure to comply with a provision of –
(a) a by-law or regulation of the municipality;
(b) other legislation administered by the municipality; or
(c) other legislation as the National Director of Public Prosecutions may determine in terms of section 22 (8) (b) of National Prosecuting Authority Act 1998.
- Public Servitudes – Public servitudes in favour of a municipality are under the control of the municipality which must protect and enforce the rights of the local community arising from those servitudes.
But, according to reliable sources, no bylaws were approved, only draft bylaws were approved for the public participation process.
The draft bylaws were published in the Provincial Gazette, no. 2385, on 11 November 2014. This should not have happened as the promulgated bylaws were not approved by council. Promulgated means: the formal proclamation or declaration that a new statutory or administrative is enacted after its final approval. In some jurisdictions, this additional step is necessary before the law can take effect. (Wikipedia)
Thus, GMM Compliance and Law Enforcement Unit must book these items under SAP 13 or in a place of safekeeping, according to reliable sources, which was not the case. IDs are NOT allowed to be removed from any person.
Homelessness has increased in the last few years, not only in Secunda, but around South Africa. There is no way to count the homeless into the national census as some move from town to town trying to secure employment. The researchers must rely on the studies of homeless people in particular cities.
Studies have shown that contributing factors to the issue of homelessness are increasing unemployment, lack of affordable housing, social disintegration and social and economic policies. Other studies have found that three out of four metropolitan municipalities have seen this phenomenon as a social dependency issue. At the same time, homeless people have asked that the municipality or municipalities assist them with affordable housing and employment.
Being homeless also increases their chances of victimisation, intimidation and physical assault by vigilante groups. These people are not seen as human beings, but rather as vagrants, thieves and lost causes.
At time of publication, no reply was received from the Govan Mbeki Municipality.
The experiences of homeless people as victims of crime in urban and rural settings – L. Sadiki
Govan Mbeki Municipality: BY-LAWS RELATING TO THE MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL OF INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS. – Ané Prinsloo