City encourages respect for criminal investigation into shooting incident
17 January 2022
Notwithstanding the ongoing criminal investigation, the City notes the ongoing distribution of some unsubstantiated reports and some public accounts of the event delivered by groups who were not eyewitnesses to the tragedy. The City urges that the facts should guide the process. On the day in question, the officers were responding to an open fire in line with their obligation to the safety of the broader public. Open fires during the summer months in Cape Town are a high-risk matter. The rest of the events that unfolded are currently being investigated.
Fatal shooting incidents involving law enforcement officers are an extreme rarity, and full account will be made to the relevant oversight bodies regarding this sad and tragic incident. These include the Civilian Oversight Committee (CIVOC) and Portfolio Committee for Safety and Security.
In the interest of transparency, the City can confirm that the officer involved in the tragic shooting was in possession of a firearm competency certificate issued by SAPS, as all law enforcement officers are required to have. The officer further underwent the accredited firearm training, which is compulsory for all Law Enforcement and SAPS officers. Training strictly follows the nationally determined standards by the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority (SASSETA).
In total, law enforcement officers undergo training amounting to six months, which includes both theoretical and supervised practical training. Law enforcement training is comprehensive and includes guidance on engaging the public professionally and with compassion.
Regarding burial costs for the deceased, Mr Dumisani Joxo, the City has a specific policy for contributions to the burial costs of indigent residents and this is always available for anyone who needs burial support. The Department of Community Services & Health administers the application process, and burial assistance can be provided if requested.
However, in this regard, the Mayor has reached out to the family of the deceased and indicated his willingness to help where possible with some of the costs associated with the burial.
Efforts to help people off the streets sustainably
The City considers all life sacrosanct and does not discriminate between the lives of citizens, regardless of stature or position in society. Nevertheless, where possible the City’s ongoing efforts to assist the most needy and indigent remain ongoing.
The City’s expenditure on its Care programme to help people off the streets amounted to over R64 million in the last two financial years. The City of Cape Town is the only metro in South Africa dedicating a social development budget to this particular issue, showing the value the City places on the lives of people living on the streets. While the national and provincial governments hold the constitutional welfare mandate and budget, the City chooses to go beyond its municipal mandate to help people get off the streets.
This includes providing 1 600 shelter placements, 1 550 EPWP work placements, 575 reunifications with family, three Safe Spaces opened with 700 total capacity, and R13,5 million provided to support NGO-run shelters over the past five years alone.
A dedicated Reintegration Unit of social development professionals offers daily interventions to help people rebuild their lives off the streets. This service is available to homeless persons in the vicinity of Chester Street, and across the city at any time.
Drivers of homelessness are complex
The City is under no illusions about the challenges of homelessness, a matter which should not be confused with a housing shortage issue. The issue is more complex, and often includes people choosing not to live in their homes.
Cape Town generally prohibits the same conduct in public places as other municipalities, except the City’s Streets by-law was recently amended to uniquely enshrine the offer of shelter in law, making this a requirement before enforcement takes place. This means only once all offers of shelter and sustainable solutions are refused, does sleeping or camping overnight in a public place become an offence. This is a necessary ‘last resort’ deterrent for the sustainable management of public places.
Where the City or its officials do not treat citizens with due dignity and respect, the City has an active complaints line where complaints may be submitted and which will get addressed. The mayor’s office may also be contacted in this regard.
Issued by Media Office, City of Cape Town, 17 January 2022