Judge who called Woodstock residents 'squatters' recuses himself from case

2017-07-05 11:16
Bromwell Street resident Charnell Commando describes the group’s concerns about being relocated to Wolwerivier. (Barbara Maregele, GroundUp)

Bromwell Street resident Charnell Commando describes the group’s concerns about being relocated to Wolwerivier. (Barbara Maregele, GroundUp)

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Cape Town – A Western Cape High Court judge, who referred to Bromwell Street residents facing eviction as "squatters" and "these people", has recused himself from the case, activist group Ndifuna Ukwazi said on Wednesday.

The group had asked the Judicial Conduct Committee to sanction and remove Judge Leslie Weinkove from the matter following his remarks to Charnell Commando, who he initially identified as a man, which had the court gasping during a hearing in January.

Commando, who works at the popular Café Ganesh in Observatory, and 14 other complainants, felt that during their court application, Weinkove had used apartheid-era terms to describe them and their situation.

Commando had identified and documented vacant land in Woodstock and the Cape Town CBD to present as alternatives to Wolwerivier, so they could stay in the area after their eviction.

At the time, Weinkove said: "What's her name? Charnell? She is a kitchen assistant in Observatory and now she's an expert. She doesn't know what the budget of the city council is; she doesn't know what money they get.

"She doesn't know this stuff, she is a kitchen assistant."


The applicants in the matter face eviction after the Woodstock property they have been staying in was sold to private developers to build upmarket apartments, which they would not be able to afford.

The City of Cape Town said it could only accommodate the residents in Wolwerivier, about a 30-minute drive from the Cape Town city centre.

The residents, however, felt Wolwerivier was too far away from their children's schools, work opportunities and public transport.

They are seeking an order declaring that the City has a constitutional obligation to provide them with emergency accommodation in an area as close as is feasibly possible to their homes.

The matter is set to be heard afresh in September 2017.

WATCH: Gentrification is destroying lives - Woodstock residents facing eviction 

Read more on:    cape town  |  housing  |  service delivery

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