OH Watch Blog: updates to residents

Vagrancy in our area

Vagrancy is a very sensitive subject, both with our members and the city, and unfortunately there is no easy solution to this problem. We receive a number of complaints from residents almost daily and though we do try to react to the problems it is even difficult for the city to deal with.

The city of Cape Town has about 700 “rough sleepers”, people who are forced or choose to sleep out in the open on the streets or in parks. Some have been on the streets for many years and choose to be there, while others end up in a situation that they cannot get out of.

The Metro has a high concentration of tourists and commuters, including a daily transient population of around 700,000 individuals, which makes it very appealing to vulnerable people looking for an informal revenue source. But the city cannot simply move people on because they are poor or vulnerable, and chasing them from one area to another does not work though the city does coordinate operations according to complaints received.

On Wednesday 13 July a number of areas were cleared and cleaned up and we were provided with the following information and the locations that were visited:

Feedback on Operation:

1) Operation was done on Wednesday 13th July 2016,as from 20h00 – 01h00.
2) Role-players, SAPS Cape Town Central Sector Managers , Law Enforcement By-Laws, Contracted Cleansing trucks with members , COCT Department of Social Development, CCID, GP&OK CID
3) Total of x 124 illegal structures were removed
4) A total of 164 Persons were warned by both SAPS & Law Enforcement.
5) COCT DSD approached x 104 persons of which x 14 accepted assistance with shelters.
6) Law Enforcement issued x 18 persons with 56 Notices for various offences
7) 35 small bank bags and 1 larger bag of dagga were found abandoned ( total weight 125g )

Locations that the operation focused on include:

CPUT Keizergracht - 4 Structures removed, 5 persons warned by LE & SAPS
District Six - 4 Structures removed, 11 persons warned by LE & SAPS
Hope Street - 6 Structures removed, 14 persons warned by LE & SAPS
Upper Orange Street - 6 Structures removed, 6 persons warned by LE & SAPS
De Waal Park - 15 Structures removed, 12 persons warned by LE & SAPS
Van Riebeeck Park - 6 Structures removed, 11 persons warned by LE & SAPS
The Kraal - 5 Structures removed, 1 persons warned by LE & SAPS
The Quarry - 29 Structures removed, 40 persons warned by LE & SAPS
Forgate Square - 11 Structures removed, 6 persons warned by LE & SAPS
Old Marine Drive - 12 Structures removed, 8 persons warned by LE & SAPS
N1 - Centre Island Incoming - 12 Structures removed, 8 persons warned by LE & SAPS
Trafalgar Storage - 21 structures removed, 39 person warned by LE & SAPS

Law Enforcement can get involved if by-laws are being infringed and SAPS can arrest in the case of repeated by-law infringements. Social Services can also get involved, though a small percentage of street people accept the offered assistance.

Give responsibly

Many of these people are destitute and face very sad hardships and we should have compassion for their situation, but please do not provide hand-outs or give money. This only makes our area more lucrative for people to come into the area and this makes it easier for a criminal element to blend in. Please consider donating to one of the cities shelters instead.

We can make a difference in our area and in other peoples lives if we give responsibly.


  1. Gretha Aalbers
    August 4th, 2016 at 12:19PM

    I'm very concerned about the growing number of homeless people in our area. Informal shelters have been erected in Mill Street, on the open area bordering Brandweer Street, and further along; under bridges, in Van Riebeeck Park etc. I understand that it is a sensitive issue, and that Law Enforcement have conducted operations, as listed above. But does City Council have a policy and plan for a long-term solution to the problem? It won't help to just remove structures and warn people, is there a way to relocate and rehabilitate them?

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