31 families evicted

2017-11-28 06:01
Evictions at Steenvilla

Evictions at Steenvilla

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Families from Steenvilla in Steenberg are being evicted. Most of the families in this complex say they don’t know if they will have roof over their heads come Christmas.

Steenvilla is owned by Sohco, a private non-profit company which develops and manages low-cost rental housing. Sohco completed the 700-unit Steenvilla complex next to Steenberg station between 2010 and 2014.

About 31 families were evicted on Thursday. Most of the people being evicted spent the day outside their homes with their belongings.

Beryl Schouw, chairperson of the Steenvilla Social Housing Action Group, says they don’t know what to do anymore.

“People just stood there as the red ants walked into the complex and started throwing people out.

“We are tired of fighting. It is not taking us anywhere; we have been in and out of court but it looks like there is nothing coming of it. This has been going on for years and we have followed all the proper channels, but it looks like we are just going nowhere,” she says.

Schouw says what surprises her most is that some of the people that were evicted are up to date with their rentals.

“When the evictions started they said it was about those who were in arrears but [now] we saw something different. Everyone was being thrown out and we were told they were still coming for more. You should see how they were removing people.

“In one flat they went in, an elderly woman, aged 85, was eating when they came. They had to take the food out of her mouth and throw her outside. Where is the respect?” she says.

Many of the families who were evicted don’t know what the future holds for them, she says.

“With Christmas around the corner we don’t know what will happen. There is no Christmas for us. We are struggling and we have been fighting with no luck. We can’t even prepare for Christmas because we don’t know what will happen next.

“Those who couldn’t pay made arrangement. It’s not like they have not been paying, maybe they are just not up to date but they have been trying to pay something,” says Schouw.

Sohco CEO Heather Maxwell confirms the evictions.

“The sheriff of the court has 31 eviction orders for completion [for Thursday]. Those who are being evicted are being removed because of non-payment of rental. In March last year a small group of tenants stopped paying rent. After attempts to resolve the situation were unsuccessful, Sohco initiated eviction proceedings in court last year, with eviction orders being granted this year.”

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