Schubart Park families sign up for relocation

2011-09-24 07:42

A total of 150 families from the Schubart Park flats had been registered for relocation yesterday afternoon as evacuations from the Pretoria building continued.

“Most tenants are co-operative. It actually came as a surprise,” said City of Tshwane spokesperson Dikeledi Phiri.

Those who had registered were allowed to go into the complex to collect their belongings.

“There is a strong presence of Tshwane metro police and SA Police Service members to ensure that all residents are evacuated without causing any disruption in the inner city,” she said.

Residents of Schubart Park were to be relocated to Atteridgeville and Salvokop, west of Pretoria, because the building had been declared unsafe.

A group of residents protested on Wednesday, saying they had had no water or electricity for two weeks.

Tyres were burnt inside the building, residents threw bricks and bottles onto the streets and a mobile toilet and car parked outside were set alight.

Police arrested 79 people for public violence during the protests.

An urgent interdict to prevent the municipality from evicting residents from the flats was dismissed on Thursday night.

 In his ruling in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, Judge Bill Prinsloo said people were not being evicted, but were being evacuated for their own safety.

He instructed the municipality and the Schubart Park residents’ association to draft an order on how the residents could be accommodated, and when they could return to their homes pending renovations to the flats.

The city and the residents association returned to court yesterday to present the terms of reference under which people would be evacuated. Dikeledi said this was to ensure tenants knew where they would be taken.

Tshwane officials began registering them yesterday morning for relocation to shelters in Salvokop and Saulsville, in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria. Women with children were being given priority.

Phiri said trucks were on standby to transport tenants and their belongings.

Buses would also be made available to those being relocated for the duration of the renovations to the building, which had been stripped of its elevators and electric cables.

Phiri said those opposed to the eviction were mostly living in the building illegally.

Earlier, the city said many of the residents did not want to register for alternative accommodation, as they said they could stay with relatives for the time being.

“Those who refuse are illegal immigrants and scared they might be deported,” she said.

Phiri said about 800 people had already been transported to Saulsville. Another 151 tenants were being housed by an non-government organisation in the inner city. Their furniture and other belongings would be kept in storage.

No violence had been reported since Thursday, police spokesperson Captain Pinky Tsinyane said.

Roads around Schubart Park were still closed on Friday during the evacuation, she said. A meeting scheduled with residents in Saulsville and Salvokop would go ahead.

Hundreds of Saulsville residents protested on Thursday against the planned relocation to their suburb.

City mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa and the city’s mayoral committee member for housing were expected to talk to the residents.

Schubart Park has been the scene of violent protests before.

In July 2008, four adults and a toddler died in a fire at the neighbouring Kruger Park flats.

The blaze was started in protest against evictions from Schubart Park by a private security company. In November 2008, the municipality announced it would renovate the flats.

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