It would have been evident to the residents who listened to safety and security Mayco member JP Smith’s presentation that the City is engaged in a behind-the-scenes fight with national government.
Mr Smith is frustrated by the limitations national government has placed on the powers of municipal law enforcement officers, making it virtually impossible for them to arrest homeless people who commit offences. Law Enforcement officers can, therefore, only fine homeless people for by-law offences, which is complicated when it comes to the homeless, as they have no permanent address. While the homeless demand our sympathy and charity, those among them who engage in anti-social behaviour and commit offences should not be granted a “get out of jail free” card because they happen to have fallen on hard times.
But at the same time residents in more well-off suburbs also need a reality check. Much time seems to be spent worrying about the movements of the homeless and counting taxis when in other parts of the city, drug and gang wars exact a terrifying toll on communities. None of us deserve to be dragged into pre-election finger pointing between a DA-controlled city and an ANC-controlled national government. We simply need our government and our City to put the political posturing aside to work together for the good of all – a high hope indeed, but one worth holding on to.