World Homeless Day may not mean much to some, but for those living on the street, it commemorates their often excruciating daily existence. A growing issue is a tense relationship between street dwellers and Cape Town's law enforcement officers, who, some homeless claim, have little respect for their bodies or property.
To commemorate World Homeless Day, the City of Cape Town's Social and Early Childhood Development Department held a dialogue with the city's homeless as well as NGOs working with street people.
The event, on Thursday 10 October at the Bellville South Community Centre, was aimed at finding solutions to the social issues faced by people on the street. However, it became a platform for those living rough to air their grievances about the City's law enforcement officers and the shelter system.
"The law enforcement have no respect for us," shouted a homeless woman from Lansdowne.
She claimed law enforcement officers have, on numerous occasions, sexually harassed her and confiscated her belongings.
"They bring a truck and take our IDs; now I can't look for a job," she complained.
The issuing of fines to street dwellers was also a top concern, with some questioning how a penniless person can afford...