South Africa: City of Cape Town Set to Answer Serious Allegations Over Conditions at Homeless Shelter

The camp for homeless people set up by the City of Cape Town at Strandfontein.

The gloves are off as the dispute between the South African Human Rights Commission and the City of Cape Town over conditions at the soon-to-be-closed Strandfontein shelter for homeless and vulnerable people heads to the Western Cape High Court.

The matter will be heard on Wednesday 20 May 2020 after an interim interdict barring monitors at the shelter, which the City of Cape Town had obtained against the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and 10 others, was set aside.

The City will now have to reply to serious allegations contained in court papers submitted by the SAHRC.

The SAHRC argues that, based on reports from monitors, the humanitarian response to the needs at the site had been "woefully inadequate and appalling". Monitors documented numerous violations including overcrowded, squalid conditions, no access to adequate healthcare and the risk of contracting TB and Covid-19.

The monitors have criticised the City's checklist used to screen people at the entrance to the site, charging that they were not given access to vital information with regard to numbers of people, tests and the results of these tests.

Western Cape Human Rights Commissioner Chris Nissen was told by the City that he would have to...

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