Bellville evictions 'necessary to clear building for restoration'

2017-09-05 20:21
Red Ants carrying out an eviction at Boston Centre in Bellville, Cape Town. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Red Ants carrying out an eviction at Boston Centre in Bellville, Cape Town. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - Residents of the Boston Centre in Bellville's Voortrekker Road were all evicted on Tuesday after the building apparently fell into a state of disrepair.

The company which obtained the court order, Milward and King Properties, said the aim was to restore the building as about 120 Red Ants emptied the sectional title flats and shops.

The 10-storey building with 50 flats was built in the 70s and once housed Home Affairs's offices. It had also been a popular hotel in its earlier years.

''If we were told about this I would have made arrangements to have everything moved myself,'' said a distressed fish shop owner as the Red Ants pushed her deep freezers out of her shop's door on to the pavement.

All of the wrap-around shops on the ground floor of the building were being emptied by the Red Ants, including a church where some tenants had seemingly made illegal electricity connections. Another shop was empty except for playing cards strewn on the floor, along with pamphlets offering miracles from a prophet for a small fee.

The fish shop owner said she knew the building had problems because their rent had been reduced, but Tuesday's events had caught her off guard. 

Knew it was coming

The landlady had dropped the rent to R9 000 to compensate for her husband having to bring water from home in big containers for all the shop's cooking and washing requirements because the shop had no water.

At the Cheers Sports Pub, a woman stood tearfully at the door with a cellphone pressed to her ear, with the Red Ants and police standing by as she summoned staff to help her move stock.

An official on the scene said that all of the residents and business owners knew about the eviction and had been served notice.

''It is a very long process,'' said the official. ''They knew this was coming.''

As the day wore on, cars and bakkies started arriving and clothes and small household items were squeezed in.

''They don't do this to white people,'' said one man, carrying a golf club.

Company administrator Sean McGuinness said it had taken 18 months to get the court order after the building ran into financial problems and went into administration.

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