South Africa: High Court Judge Earmarks Homeless vs City of Cape Town Case As a 'Constitutional Issue'

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After a sparring match with lawyers which resulted in a full day of proceedings, acting judge Bernard Martin ruled that an existing court order preventing the City of Cape Town from fining the homeless would be extended pending a review hearing on the constitutionality of two of the City's by-laws.

The case of seven homeless people versus the City of Cape Town was heard in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday 12 December in a packed courtroom which included activists and civil society organisations.

The litigants launched an interdict application against the City to stop them from issuing fines to street dwellers, in accordance with the City's public spaces and waste management by-laws.

After a sparring match with lawyers which resulted in a full day of proceedings, acting judge Bernard Martin ruled that an existing court order granted by Judge Lee Bozalek on 5 September, would be extended pending a review hearing on the Constitutionality of the two by-laws in question.

The Bozalek order prevents the City from interfering with or confiscating the personal property of street dwellers, harassing and abusing the homeless and enforcing or further prosecuting fines and summonses issued to the seven applicants.

Before arguments were...

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