Schubart Park residents get shelter

2013-10-21 17:59
A member of the Tshwane Metro Police kicks open a door inside a residence of the Schubart Park block of flats during evictions in 2011. (Picture: Sapa)

A member of the Tshwane Metro Police kicks open a door inside a residence of the Schubart Park block of flats during evictions in 2011. (Picture: Sapa)

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Pretoria - Progress has been made in finding accommodation for people displaced from Schubart Park flats in Pretoria central, facilitator Frank Chikane said on Monday.

"The process of negotiations between the city and the erstwhile residents of Schubart Park has progressed to the point where 388 of the families have been provided with alternative accommodation."

Chikane, former director general in the presidency, is the convenor in negotiations between the City of Tshwane and the residents, who were evicted from the dilapidated Schubart Park buildings.

After a drawn-out court battle, the Constitutional Court ruled last year that their removal was illegal.

The court ordered the city and the residents to "engage meaningfully with one another and to report to the high court on their progress".

Chikane said 69 more families were awaiting the allocation of alternative accommodation.

"The 69 families who have been verified [as genuine former residents] await alternative accommodation and the process of vetting persons who claim to have lived in Schubart Park buildings in September 2011 continues," he said.

"As the vetting process continues, this number will be increased and allocations [of accommodation] will take place on a rolling basis."

He said the Schubart Park buildings would be refurbished in terms of designs that would adapt the structures into "a modern day mixed development precinct" including both social housing and rental stock to cater for the returning residents.

In the court battle, the city, as the owner of the buildings, argued that the complex was an unsafe living environment, an opinion that was based on expert advice.

Re-occupy the complex

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of SA (SERI) also entered the legal battle as a friend of the court.

SERI argued the removal of the residents was unlawful and the city had not provided enough alternative accommodation.

The Constitutional Court's 2012 ruling also set aside earlier orders of the high court, given in September 2011, and that of the Supreme Court of Appeal.

After the September 2011 evictions, the residents unsuccessfully approached the High Court in Pretoria seeking an urgent court order against the city.

The order would have allowed them to re-occupy the complex.

The court dismissed their application, but ordered the municipality to offer alternative accommodation.

Read more on:    frank chikane  |  housing

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