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Offer of shelter stands for unlawful occupants of Castle precinct in CBD<p>On 25 May, the City conducted a multi-departmental operation to address criminal activity and improve safety and dignity in the immediate vicinity of tented camps in the CBD, including at the Castle precinct. The City’s enforcement services conducted crime prevention operations where necessary, with several units of drugs confiscated and arrests made.<br> <br>The purpose of the operation at the Castle was to conduct waste clearing due to severely unhygienic conditions, including hazardous human waste. These clean-up operations occur regularly with the knowledge and consent of unlawful occupants.<br> <br>No occupied shelters were knowingly removed, with the only shelter material  removed during the operation on 25 May being four vacant, empty tents, as well as abandoned materials including plastic and bricks. These tents have been removed for safe storage at Ndabeni facility. As part of the agreed court order, contact can be made with our offices to arrange for any of the unlawful occupants to point out which goods they allege to be theirs and collect them.<br> <br>At no stage did officials take any steps to deprive the unlawful occupants  of their personal belongings, medication or ID books as has been alleged. <br><br>Furthermore, the City’s Streets By-law does not circumvent the need for a court order where a structure is considered a dwelling under the Prevention of Illegal Eviction and Unauthorised Occupation of Land (PIE) Act. In those instances, it is necessary to obtain a court order, and ensure alternative accommodation at shelters or safe spaces has been offered, where this is just and equitable. <br> <br>The agreed court order includes an interdict regarding the use of the Streets and Coastal by-laws to effect evictions, which has no legal effect as the City does not use these by-laws for the purpose of evictions, which are governed by the PIE Act.<br> <br>Cape Town’s public places serve important social, community and economic purposes, and must be open and available to all. <br> <br>No person has the right to reserve a public space as exclusively theirs, while indefinitely refusing all offers of shelter and social assistance. Accepting sustainable solutions off the streets is the best choice for dignity, health, and well-being.<br> <br>A social assessment of those unlawfully occupying the Castle precinct was previously completed by the City and alternative shelter at Safe Spaces and shelters was offered. This offer of shelter still stands, and the City reserves the right to, in due course, institute legal proceedings in line with the law on unlawful occupations.<br><strong> </strong><br><strong>Care Programme</strong><br> <br>In the last year alone, from May 2021 – April 2022, the direct efforts of City officials have resulted in: <br> </p><ul><li><div style="text-align:left;">860+ people helped off the streets, through shelter placements, reunifying family and loved ones, and other forms of reintegration.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">1150+ people participating in development programmes at City-run Safe Spaces </div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">730+ EPWP work placements to help those staying at our Safe Spaces get back on their feet</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">720+ referrals for social grants, identity documents, specialised care facilities, and substance abuse treatment – with an 80% Matrix programme success rate to address addiction as a key driver of why people end up on the streets.</div></li></ul><p> <br>This is aside from what is being achieved by civil society, and the City is planning to do much more together with NGO partners and the national and provincial government, who together hold the constitutional mandate for welfare and homeless shelters.<br> <br>The City’s Care Programme to help people off the streets has been increased to R77 million in 2022/23 as the only metro going above its municipal mandate to dedicate a social development budget to this issue. <br> <br>In addition, R10 million has been set aside to expand shelter beds at NGO-run shelters this winter. <br> <br>The Safe Space model includes dignified shelter, comfort and ablutions, two meals per day, access to a social worker on-site, personal development planning, ID Book and social grant assistance, access to substance and alcohol abuse treatment, skills training, help finding a job, and EPWP work placement.<br> <br>Post-disaster approach to helping people off the streets<br> <br>The two-year national state of disaster and related economic impact has led to unmatched levels of homelessness in the city, with many people are sleeping in public places, including sidewalks, parks, road reserves, and under bridges. <br> <br>Given this situation, only a unique and unprecedented response will help people off the streets in Cape Town and ensure that public places are available for wider public use. <br> <br>The City of Cape Town is proactively dealing with this situation by: <br> </p><p style="text-align:left;"><strong>- Expanding City-run Safe Spaces beyond the CBD and Bellville: </strong>A total of R142m is allocated to operate and expand these facilities over the next 3 years. </p><p style="text-align:left;">- <strong>Stepping up efforts to assess the circumstances of those on the streets, and offer shelter or social assistance: </strong>City Social Development & ECD staff are currently busy with a city-wide process of conducting social assessments of those living on the streets. This includes the reasons for homelessness, physical and mental health, living conditions, sources of income. This will result in a referral for social assistance, which can include accommodation at a shelter or City-run safe space. </p><p style="text-align:left;"><strong>- Obtaining court orders regarding the unlawful occupation of public places - </strong></p><p style="text-align:left;">Where the PIE Act is applicable, the City will acquire the necessary court order, and ensure alternative accommodation at shelters or safe spaces has been offered, where this is just and equitable.</p><p> <br> <br><strong>End</strong></p><p> <br></p>2022-05-31T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#a900d45c-352e-4b87-a2ea-9efe10952db5;L0|#0a900d45c-352e-4b87-a2ea-9efe10952db5|Loitering;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#2a5efaf1-c8d4-42be-8809-9638cebaefd5;L0|#02a5efaf1-c8d4-42be-8809-9638cebaefd5|shelter;GP0|#d368d2c2-af0c-4605-8ff2-9b580dbe4bf8;L0|#0d368d2c2-af0c-4605-8ff2-9b580dbe4bf8|illegal occupancy10

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