Judgment reserved in Bromwell Street application

2017-02-01 21:03
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 - The Woodstock Hub and the City of Cape Town want to recover legal costs from the 27 people taking them to court over their planned relocation to the Wolwerivier emergency housing camp, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.

In addition the R75 000 raised for them through crowdfunding, with R50 000 seeded by the Woodstock Hub, is no longer available to them, the company's lawyer Ross Randall said.

He said that as it is the company is subsidising the families' rent and utility bills at a cost of R50 000 starting from when the company took over ownership in 2014, while it still has to pay off its bank loan.

The owners have also decided that they will give the occupants until the end of February to move out and after that they will serve the eviction order that was put on ice in an effort to resolve the problem.

"They became unlawful occupiers in 2014," said Randall.

He said the court had already heard that they paid between R300 and R2000 a month to rent the houses at numbers 120 to 128 on Bromwell Street before their sale in a private transaction in 2013.

Since ownership transferred to the owner in 2014, the occupants had not paid rent, but have been "terribly quiet" about what they did with the money, while also asking for emergency housing because they can't find anything they can afford, he said.

No right to choose

The City of Cape Town also wants a costs order against the residents, because it believes it has done everything it should have done by offering them emergency accommodation in Wolwerivier.

The city's lawyer, Advocate Karrisha Pillay, said there was no law in the Constitution that gave people the right to choose where they could live at the government's expense.

The city offered various types of housing according to applicants' means and was already committed to several projects and could not simply hand over the Bromwell Street families one of the 45 sites they had proposed. 

As far as the city is concerned, it would also be unfair to give a Khayelitsha government housing beneficiary a stand worth R200 000 and the Woodstock beneficiaries something worth 10 times more.

The residents are opposing the offer of being housed temporarily at Wolwerivier on the grounds that the area is too far from schools, job opportunities and transport.

So far 1 122 people are already living at the emergency camp where residents only move on if they get a state house, or find enough money to rent somewhere else.

Judgment was reserved.

Read more on:    cape town  |  housing

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