City of Cape Town strikes deal with Woodstock Hospital occupiers

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(File, Twitter/ReclaimCT)
(File, Twitter/ReclaimCT)
  • The City of Cape Town reached a deal with the occupiers of the defunct Woodstock Hospital.
  • The hospital was occupied in March 2017 and, since the occupation, the number of residents has increased.
  • According to the City, the occupation has seen an increase in by-law contraventions.

The City of Cape Town has reached a mutual agreement with the occupiers of the defunct Woodstock Hospital.

The deal comes after the occupiers challenged the City's application for a court order to survey the over 900 residents. 

The matter was heard in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday while residents held a demonstration outside.

The parties reached an agreement, which states that the residents' legal representatives will conduct the survey.

It will be handed to the City in August.

WATCH | Woodstock Hospital occupiers: 'City of Cape Town trying to get a court order about us, without us'

The agreement also states that the City will have to file a report to indicate whether they had engaged with the residents, and what measures the City has in place should the residents not vacate the premises. 

The residents, who occupy the building, are part of Reclaim the City. They have strongly opposed being evicted from the premises. 

The hospital was occupied in March 2017 and, since the occupation, the number of residents has increased.

The occupation was organised by Reclaim the City, which renamed the hospital "Cissie Gool House".

According to the City, the occupation has seen an increase in by-law contraventions, which has forced it to beef up law enforcement at a cost of R400 000 per month.

The legal representatives for the residents have argued that the City's survey, which requests personal information, does not align with the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act.

READ MORE | City of Cape Town considers evicting people 'illegally' occupying abandoned hospital

Reclaim the City Woodstock Chapter leader, Karen Hendricks, said Cissie Gool House offered refuge to poor and working class families.

"The residents would otherwise have faced homelessness and displacement as a result of rampant gentrification in the Woodstock and Salt River areas."

The City's Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Malusi Booi, has repeatedly said the occupation ruins the City's plans for social housing developments.

"The matter is urgent as the City is able to proceed with social housing building plan submissions within a short timeframe, due to favourable zoning and rights on the property, subject to any heritage requirements.

"The surrounding community also deserves an urgent end to the constant breach of the City's by-laws and other crime at the Woodstock Hospital site, which has necessitated an increased law enforcement presence and security measures."

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