Woodstock evictions put on hold for City of Cape Town to find alternative place to stay

2017-06-29 15:01
Albert Road residents Michiel Dube and Ivan Marcus in front of the Cape Town Magistrate's court on Thursday. They face eviction after living in Woodstock for roughly 35 years (James de Villiers, News24)

Albert Road residents Michiel Dube and Ivan Marcus in front of the Cape Town Magistrate's court on Thursday. They face eviction after living in Woodstock for roughly 35 years (James de Villiers, News24)

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Documentary follows CT family's gruelling eviction story

2017-03-23 11:14

Former journalist and communications officer at Ndifuna Ukwazi, Daneel Knoetze, introduces us to the story of a family who was evicted from their home in Woodstock to shine light on the ever growing conversation around gentrification in Cape Town. Watch.WATCH

Cape Town – The lawyer representing 15 people facing evictions in Albert Road, Woodstock, believes it will take several months before residents are removed. 

"There are a lot for procedures and processes which still have to take place," Legal Aid attorney Mark Owen told residents outside the Cape Town Magistrate’s court on Thursday. 

"It is impossible to say how long, but it can possibly take several months." 

Residents of a converted apartment block in Albert Road received eviction notices on March 15 for allegedly failing to pay rent for over a year. 

Residents, however, argue that the landlord had failed to maintain the property and had cut off the water supply. 

It is unclear whether development is planned for the apartment block.  

The matter was postponed to July 13, as a report from the City of Cape Town was outstanding. 

The report from the City will indicate whether it is able to provide alternative accommodation, Owen said. 

Resident Ivan Marcus told News24 that they understand that they can’t occupy privately owned property, but want to ensure that they are provided with adequate alternative accommodation.

"I have been living here for 32 years, now they want me to move to Blikkiesdorp and Wolwerivier – for what? There’s no hospital there, there’s nothing there – the City forgets about people they send there," Marcus said. 

Read: Wolwerivier emergency settlement area chosen on merit – City of Cape Town

The Western Cape government previously announced plans to redevelop the Woodstock Hospital into affordable housing. 

Marcus’ wife Charmaine said residents wanted to wait for the hospital to be redeveloped. 

"They can give us containers to stay in, while we wait for the apartments to be built. The containers are okay, at least there’s rooms inside them," Charmaine said. 

"How do these people to expect us to live otherwise. We can’t pay R1.5m for fancy apartments in Woodstock, we don’t earn that type of money.”

Similar evictions

The threatened Albert Road eviction is one of several similar cases taking place across the City of Cape Town. 

In 2016, Bromwell Street residents in Woodstock were served eviction notices to make way for an apartment block. 

During court proceedings, presiding Judge Leslie Weinkove, who said his father once owned a farm in Wolwerivier, near Dunoon, wanted to know why they were complaining about there not being transport, health facilities and schools close by. 

"What's the point of being near a school? What's the point of them being near transport? Where are they going to go?"

Weinkove felt a balance needed to be found between the developer's rights, and the rights of the Bromwell Street residents, but was not sure that location should be the determining factor.

In May, South Road families in Plumstead lost a Supreme Court appeal over evictions to make way for a MyCiTi busway. 

At the time, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, Brett Herron, welcomed the ruling. 

"This court action was a waste of our ratepayers’ money and has unfairly and unnecessarily delayed the much-needed roll-out of the MyCiTi service to the residents of Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha by nearly two years," Herron said in a statement. 

Read more on:    cape town  |  housing  |  local government

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