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Witness
Battle of Sea Point
The town of Sea Point highlights the differences between the haves and have-nots in South Africa.
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2009 16:11 GMT

Watch part two

Filmmaker: Francois Verster

Situated on Cape Town's Atlantic seaboard, Sea Point was a traditionally affluent whites-only suburb. Ten years after the fall of Apartheid, it is now radically changed. Entire blocks have been taken over by drug lords, shoot-outs happen in broad daylight and prostitution is openly visible. As a result, property prices have dropped drastically.

JP Smith is a smooth-talking, local city councellor who has taken it as a mission to clean up the streets and restore neighbourhood pride.

He is a member of a new and novel protest group made up largely of middle-class and middle-aged residents who call themselves the Yellow Bib Campaign.

They put on bright yellow covers and patrol the streets with the aim of making local slum lords, prostitutes and drug dealers so uncomfortable that they leave of their own accord. They also force the homeless to move into communal shelters.

For homeless person, Aubrey Ruiters, the Yellow Bib campaigners are bothersome do-gooders who just want to make the streets appear clean but who are not interested in addressing the underlying causes of poverty and homelessness.

Despite his religious beliefs, Aubrey just can't seem to escape the cycle of homelessness, alcoholism and despair.

JP Smith and Aubrey exist in the same town - but are world's apart. They know each other well - and sparks fly when they meet up again in a darkened alley where Aubrey is hoping to sleep.

This film investigates the difficulties and dilemmas around "reclaiming the streets" and explores the dynamics between development, street crime, homelessness and community safety.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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