Trojan Horse Memorial
You are Here: News -> New City by-law takes the fun out of 'begging' for news

New City by-law takes the fun out of 'begging' for news

Return to previous page.

New City by-law takes the fun out of 'begging' for news

by Nurene Jassiem
30 Jun 2006
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

As a journalist I spend most of my time either on the road gathering news and information or behind my desk typing up stories. On the odd occasion when I have the time I surf the internet in search of interesting news stories.

So imagine my surprise - or rather mock horror - when I came across a new set of by-laws the other day that's set to crack down on beggars. Its name: the By-Law Relating to Streets, Public Places and the Prevention of Nuisances 2006.

Now according to the draft of this by-law from the City of Cape Town "continuing to beg from a person or closely follow a person after the person has given a negative response to such begging" will be outlawed. In addition to this an offender could be fined or imprisoned for a period not exceeding six months.

For the record, I'm not a beggar, even though I loaf the odd sweet or tea-bag from my colleagues now and then. I do however often find myself "begging" people for interviews - especially when doing a vox. Often when I initially approach people they say no, then I use my charm (or powers of persuasion) to convince them to speak to me. So, if I understand this new law correctly, I can now be arrested for this? Woe is me!

Another section of the by-law outlaws "following someone in a manner that influences reasonable fear for bodily harm". So for the record, if I walk up to you and ask for comment on any given issue, I do not intend to cause you any harm. In light of this by-law I have to humbly request the public not to have me arrested or call security when I approach you, I just want your comment and nothing more. Scouts honour, I promise!

I'm not sure how many of you go out at night and sometimes find the need to take a short nap in your car before continuing the party.

I know when I was younger, my parents and I went to family functions and they usually ended up staying for a seeming eternity. Thus, I often asked my dad for the car keys and went to catch "40 winks" in the back of the vehicle. Alas! This new by-law also outlaws sleeping in a vehicle in any public space "except in a dire emergency". I surely hope that my need for sleep would classify as a "dire emergency". Imagine the dozing off and just as LL Cool J is about to propose to you (I'm a hip-hop fan with a vivid imagination), you hear a police siren and wake up to a torch light flashing in your eyes!
Not only will your dreams be shattered (albeit a fantasy), but you may even be arrested (I know I cant afford fines, maybe some of you can).

On a serious note though. I understand some of the reasoning behind this by-law and that beggars often make a nuisance of themselves. But my request to the public is to please consider carefully the weight of their actions when they try to have this by-law enforced.

Consider whether not wanting to give a kid 50c is worth having him imprisoned - my logic tells me that if he's asking you for money he wont be able to pay a fine. Laws are meant to be taken seriously but compassion for those less fortunate than yourself is also a common courtesy.

Return to previous page.

From our Directory

Do you need a video or DVD of an event or special occassion? For Keepsake Video Services creates videos of weddings, birthday parties and other special events. Call them now on 0727296628.

The Trauma Counselling Practise in Newfields Estate offers assistance in the forms of HIV counselling, and dealing with depression, stress, anger and grief. You can contact them on 021-6374356

Are you craving for some divine Cape Malay Koeksisters? Simply First Distribution sells koeksisters as well as the syrup separately or added-on as requested. Call them now on 0724929919.

Contact Us | About | Copyright | Advertising | Disclaimer

Website Design by BMSC-Online