Eviction Concerns

2018-10-30 06:01

Residents have raised concerns about ongoing home evictions in the area, after reading about the removal of a 41-year-old father earlier this month (“Family’s house battle,” People’s Post, 9 October)

Locals say home evictions are becoming a trend, even though the occupants are “innocent­”.

“We understand that the properties in Manenberg need to be cleared from all illegal activities, but people are being removed from their homes even though they are not at fault,” says resident­Shabanna Claasen.

“I have seen many of my relatives removed from rental units in the past. Some were at fault and others were not. The innocent ones are struggling today, moving from one place to another for shelter.

“This is not right. The City of Cape Town should do proper investigations before any eviction is done. They cannot go around playing with people’s lives,” Claasen laments­.

People’s Post spoke to another family, who came forward to express their battle with the City.

Felencia Oostender explains her 35-year-old son, Lance Daniels, has been living with her mother, Elizabeth Daniels in Sabie Road in Manenberg since he matriculated 15 years ago.

When Oostender’s mother passed away, Daniels continued to live in the house and started working as a local vendor, travelling across the province and country to make a living for himself.

However, when Daniels returned to his home earlier this year, after being on the road for a few days, he found that it had been closed up by the City.

According to Oostender, her son was out of town when gangsters entered the home.

“The gangsters damaged the property completely and stole what they could. The water was also running for days before the issue was reported by the neighbours,” she says.

“The neighbours told the City’s housing officials and the police that the house was vandalised and abandoned, because no members of the house were present at the time.

“The City then went ahead and closed down the property. Lance, who was in Polokwane at the time, was unaware of the issue and was only called later, to inform him about the shutdown of the house.”

Daniels has since returned to Cape Town and has been living in what his mother calls a “hokkie”.

“We have been battling with the City to get the house back for a few months now. What is making things more difficult for my son to move back in, is the fact that the house has been given to another resident during that period.

“My late mother’s furniture was also thrown out of the house when the City granted (the house) to a single occupant. This furniture was the only memories we had left of our mother.”

Oostender says she is struggling to understand why the house was closed up and why her son can’t move back in.

“He was living alone on the property for the past few years.

“There were no eviction papers served to the family and we were only informed by word that the house is being closed, at the time.

“Two of my children have since tried to file an application to get the house back, but it was unsuccessful, as both my son and daughter did not qualify.

“They (children) are currently still visiting City offices with the hopes that my mother’s home will be returned,” an emotional Ooster adds.

Siyabulela Mamkeli, then Mayco member for Area Central, says the City at all times aims to ensure all of its available rental housing opportunities are allocated and fully occupied.

“As the landlord, the City is obligated to take action when an abandoned rental unit gets vandalised. It should be noted that Daniels was not in occupation of the unit as is alleged,” he explains.

“His mother, Felencia, who also lived at [the address], was allocated a rental unit and records reflect that he is part of his mother’s tenancy at a place in Ruth Court, Manenberg.

“Both Lance and his mother, Felencia, were interviewed and it was explained why he did not qualify for the rental unit in question. They were requested to remove the items of furniture which were still in the dwelling, and this was done by Daniels.”

Mamkeli says the City always follows due process and is responsible for administering the waiting list which is subject to applicable policies and processes.

“The Home Ownership and Tenancy Management and Staff Housing Department invites Daniels to meet with the department’s officials to discuss the matter further. The City is committed to assisting its residents,” he adds.

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