Schubart Park residents want Zuma's help

2011-11-10 22:46
Pretoria - Hundreds of people evicted from the Schubart Park flats in the Pretoria CBD marched to the Union Buildings on Thursday to deliver a memorandum.

They asked the presidency to intervene and instruct the Tshwane metro municipality to provide them with alternative housing.

"The metro police wanted to sabotage our march, but in the end we reached an agreement with them and they allowed us to go ahead," said Mashao Chauke, a spokesperson for the Schubart Park residents committee.

He said more than 300 people marched to hand over the memorandum.

"We want the presidency to intervene in the ongoing row. We are sleeping on the streets despite the municipality's undertaking to provide accommodation for us. Our people are scattered everywhere."

Chauke handed the request to Eugene Mthethwa, who represented the presidency at the Union Buildings.

"There are already indications, as we speak now that things are moving and the presidency will facilitate our meeting with the municipality to settle this matter," he said.

The presidency confirmed receipt of the memorandum.

"It will be studied carefully before a position is taken. The [former Schubart Park flats] residents will be contacted soon," said Harold Maloka, a spokesperson for the presidency.

The City of Tshwane insisted that people who needed accommodation at the time of the evacuation had been given alternative places to stay.

Spokesperson Pieter de Necker said the people who marched to the Union Buildings had earlier declined an accommodation offer.

"When we were listing people. These people told us they have other places to squeeze in with relatives and friends around town. We went ahead and provided shelter for those who needed it."

He said the municipality was ready to interact with the presidency over its position on Schubart Park.

"People should remember what the North Gauteng High Court said. We were instructed to provide temporary accommodation, not permanently," De Necker said.

"We still have people staying in accommodation provided by the municipality. Even the Constitutional Court upheld that decision".

Schubart Park was evacuated in September following violent clashes between residents and police over water and electricity cuts at the dilapidated structure.

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled that residents should not be allowed to go back to the building.

In October the Constitutional Court dismissed a bid by Lawyers for Human Rights to challenge the lower court's decision, on behalf of the residents.

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