If criminal activity is suspected and/or by-laws broken by the vagrant, please report to the local Metro Police unit. The number is 021 938 8025. Vagrancy with no criminal intent should be reported to the People’s Displacement Unit (DPU) so that they can help. The number is 021 900 1755.

The issue of vagrancy 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 some cases crime) and a life of living on the possible goodwill of others.

Within the OH Watch area, we have two opinions on vagrants:

Some residents are of the opinion that they are helping the vagrants by providing them with assistance, in whatever form, be it with the odd meal, spare clothing, shelter for the night and so on. We also have residents who believe that they want nothing to do with vagrants, that they are a health and crime hazard and should be removed by the Police.

OH Watch has met with various organizations (Police, OK 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 CCID (Cape Town City Improvement District) in its “Give Responsibly” Campaign. It mentions:

“It is natural and commendable that you would want to help to uplift the lives of our City’s most vulnerable, but have you considered that by offering a handout you are condemning that person to a perpetual life on the street”

Our advice is as follows:

  1. Please do not give handouts – give responsibly by donating to the various organizations, see below.

  2. BINS BINS BINS – On refuse day, only take your bin out half an hour before collection.
    Criminals use this time to disguise themselves as vagrants for the purpose of surveillance and committing crime – this is fact and not fiction.

  3. You can sponsor a person to work with “Straatwerk” – an organization that employs people to
    clean the streets of Cape Town - no doubt you will have seen the street cleaners with “Jesus Saves” bibs going about their business around the city on many an occasion. The sponsor form can be downloaded from our website ( click on “Vagrants”), completing and handing it to the vagrant who then reports to the Straatwerk depot. This person will be guaranteed a days work and will be paid R45 for 4 hours work. Straatwerk will then contact you to arrange for payment. OH Watch will be providing Straatwerk with work to clean up alleys, parks and vacant plots in our area.

Straatwerk Website - Click here

Straatwerk Sponsor form: Sponsor form - click here

We really need everyone’s co-operation here and hope that this advice is taken up in the spirit that it is offered, which is in the interests of our community and in the longer-term best interest of the vagrants.