De Lille challenged on Bromwell relocation plans

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)

Cape Town – Housing rights NGO Ndifuna Ukwazi has accused Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille of not keeping her word to stop relocating evicted black and coloured people far away from the city.

In a statement ahead of a court challenge to the Bromwell Street evictions, the organisation said it feared there might be more out-of-city relocations afoot, in spite of an undertaking by De Lille that apartheid-type relocations far from the CBD would stop.

Mayoral spokesperson Zara Nicholson confirmed that there would be a court application relating to the Bromwell Street residents on Tuesday, but said there was no further comment.

The NGO said the City of Cape Town's lawyers are preparing to argue that Bromwell Street's evicted residents should be moved to Wolwerivier, 30km from the city centre.

As far as they are concerned, this is akin to apartheid-era planning when black and coloured people were dumped on the periphery of cities.

Relocation camps

The Bromwell Street residents have been up in arms after the homes they were renting were sold to developers, forcing them to move. They say they have identified suitable land in the vicinity of Bromwell Street, and do not want to have to travel the vast distances after being resettled on the outskirts of the city.

According to Ndifuna Ukwazi, the court papers show that there could be as many as 10 relocation camps in the pipeline, instead of being able to stay in the vicinity of the CBD as they had asked.

It said that the city's Acting Executive Director for Human Settlements Riana Pretorius listed them as: Bloekombos Ext 3, Strandfontein East, Pelican Park South, Atlantis South, Macassar, Mfuleni Ext 2, Vlakteplaas, Sweet Home, Aloe Ridge, and Nooiensfontein.

"Each one of these is isolated and far from the city centre," Ndifuna Ukwazi said.

"Mayor De Lille needs to come clean with the residents of Cape Town on her plans to in fact build new peripheral developments to dump black and coloured people in," it said.

It wants De Lille to immediately announce specific locations and timelines for inner city social housing and to invest in long term policies to house evicted people in decent temporary accommodation that is close to schools, workplaces and healthcare.

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