Kraaifontein land invaders challenge eviction order

2018-04-21 21:49
High Court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

High Court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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The occupiers of a block of flats in Kraaifontein, Cape Town will only know if they can remain on the premises on May 11, after an application regarding an eviction order against them was postponed.

The application against the finalisation of an eviction order obtained by developer, Afhco Calgro M3 Consortium was postponed by the Western Cape High Court on Friday.

Afhco Calgro M3 Consortium got an ex parte application approved in court on March 29 and allegedly hired the services of a private security company to evict the occupants from their premises.

The occupants were apparently not aware of court proceedings.

"We illegally invaded that block of flats, but we believe that that land was earmarked for community housing," said community leader Peter Snyders.

"That land was sold without consultation to a big private company by the City of Cape Town with the consent of ward councillor Grant Twigg."

Twigg, however, said on Saturday that there had been thorough consultation and information sharing from the moment they started the mixed-development in 2006, when 12 pockets of land were first identified.

"I won’t be exaggerating if I say there was more than 50 meetings between when we started and now."

He said that all the RDP houses and city rental units in the development were built and now occupied.

"Now that we are busy with part of the private rental, when the developer needs to make a profit, this group comes and says they are not happy."

He labelled their attitude as opportunistic and unfortunate.

Legal representative lawyer Bradley Muller, for the occupants, said that they were violently removed from the property.

"The eviction was unlawful as only the sheriff of the court can execute an eviction. The security company violently removed our people and even shot at them," Muller said.

Muller said on Saturday that many of the evicted residents had built temporary shacks on the side of the road outside the Kraaifontein complex, as they had nowhere else to go.

"They are not blocking traffic or hindering anyone, but they are not allowed onto the premises at all," Muller said.

Residents wait in anticipation.

A large group of Kraaifontein residents waited outside the high court to hear the outcome of the matter.

One of the occupants Desmond "Solly" Gordon was allegedly shot in the head with a rubber bullet and had to be treated.

"They just started shooting our people like dogs at the flats. I was pulling a woman down in front of me and the security took his gun and shot me in the head – I was only two meters away from him," Gordon said.

The woman he was attempting to protect, Merensia Solomon, was also allegedly shot.

"We stood against the gate [with our hands up] and Solly put me out of the way and they shot me on the chest," Solomon said.

Winnie Afrika tearfully described being shot with a rubber bullet and how she now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. She is also unable to walk without the assistance of a cane.

Oostenberg Social Development Forum spokesperson Dennis Taaibosch said that the occupants have nowhere to go and many sleep on the pavement near the eviction premises.

"They have nowhere to go and they sleep outside on the streets. Most of these people are on waiting lists for housing and some are backyard dwellers," Taaibosch said.

Muller told News24 on Saturday that the matter had initially been placed on the unopposed roll by advocates representing the Afhco Calgro M3 Consortium, despite the fact that they knew it was being opposed.

The matter was then referred to the urgent motions court, where it was heard late Friday afternoon, before being postponed to 11 May.

Muller said this was for the heads of argument and responding affidavits to be filed.

Read more on:    cape town  |  housing

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