Families call for basic services

2016-10-11 06:00
Earlier this year, Parkwood residents illegally invaded City land to strengthen their plight for housing in the area. The residents are now asking the City to equip the land with basic services.  PHOTO: Chevon Booysen

Earlier this year, Parkwood residents illegally invaded City land to strengthen their plight for housing in the area. The residents are now asking the City to equip the land with basic services. PHOTO: Chevon Booysen

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A total of 47 families are currently living on an open field on the corners of Acacia Road and Blackbird Street demanding that the City of Cape Town make the space habitable with basic services on the land.

The residents who invaded the land earlier this year (“Tempers, tear gas flare”, People’s Post, 1 March) say they want basic services because “one tap and one toilet won’t do”.

Colin Arendse, a resident and spokesperson for the residents says, they want the City to make the land habitable.

“Until the City complies with legislation, the current occupiers are constitutionally entitled to basic services like water and sanitation as one toilet and one tap between nine babies, 19 children and 131 adults is an affront to the dignity of the most vulnerable members of our society,” Arendse, also a paralegal, says.

The families moved onto the vacant land, since adopted Skiemsaam, earlier this year in protest for housing opportunities.

“There is no legislation in our country that allows for a court order to be obtained after an illegal eviction. The interdict that the City obtained was to prevent further occupation of the land concerned. It follows that before the City carried out their double eviction, they should have applied for a court order first; not afterwards,” he says.

Arendse says they plan to assist the residents by taking this matter further to the Human Rights Commission as well as Social Justice to “apply pressure for the plight of these people”.

“If the City does however eventually come back with an eviction order, we do intend to dispute that too,” he says.

MEC for Human Settlements Benedicta van Minnen confirms they had a court order for a final interdict “to prevent the illegal invasion and/or occupation of City land. No one was evicted without a court order.”

“The City does not evict persons without an eviction order which is obtained in terms of the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act (PIE). The City approached the Court on (Friday) 26 February, on an urgent basis, for an interim interdict to prevent the further illegal invasion and /or occupation of its property situated in Parkwood. This was an illegal invasion and occupation of City land without the City’s permission,” Van Minnen explains.

She says a final interdict was obtained on Tuesday 6 September ‘interdicting and restraining persons from entering City property and erecting illegal structures on the identified land in Parkwood”.

“The 43 families were present at court and the City engaged with them during the court process and is still engaging with them.”

Asked whether the City is reviewing the request for basic services, Van Minnen says: “The City is considering the request.”

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