Neighbourly help

2017-09-05 06:00

A Diep River resident and local business woman has taken it on herself to help some of the people who are about to be evicted from Steurhof council cottages.

Alexis Serra says it all started when she was pulling out of her driveway and some of the residents came up to her and asked for help.

Serra feels that the people who are being evicted don’t have enough information or the resources to challenge the City of Cape Town.

“This has been going on for a long time. It goes back as far as 2001. There is a lot of unfairness and misinformation at the housing offices and a lot of people are being disenfranchised of their rights,” she says.

“To redress the issues of the past, some housing officials visited people in Lavender Hill who were removed from the houses, informing them they will be moved back when houses become available. Due to maladministration housing information wasn’t recorded correctly as people returned. A land claims committee was formed, but there were those people who saw the wheels of justice moving slowly and they broke into houses,” says Serra.

Housing policies and procedures where flouted and overlooked and today those who broke into houses have deeds of transfer for those houses, she says.

“The City lost control and accepted the situation. Years later, the City wants to crack the whip and now people are being kicked out because they are said by the City to be unlawful occupants,” she says.

Serra is helping three of the families who are about to be evicted to challenge the City in court.

“There are more people who are about to be evicted. Those whom I have helped, it takes months to get the documents ready and to build up a case,” she says.

People’s Post has the names of the officials who have been pointed out as being at the heart of the evictions in Steurhof.

A case of fraudulent misrepresentation has reportedly been opened with the Diep River police. Police had not commented on this by the time of going to print.

Serra says these housing officials, calling themselves housing practitioners, told beneficiaries that they couldn’t submit affidavits as proof. “Now they are left with a situation where they can’t prove how long they have resided in their houses. The housing policy within itself accepts affidavits. Poor people are being exploited and disenfranchised.”

V Continued on page 2.

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