From Bromwell Street to Blikkies

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November 7, 2016
From Bromwell Street to Blikkies

UNHAPPY: Brenda Smith, 75 CREDIT: Ayanda Ndamane

Eviction tenants go on visit to ‘new homes’ in Wolwerivier.

The Bromwell Street tenants, who face eviction, were given a peek of their possible future homes yesterday — 36 kilometres from Woodstock.

And they are not shocked with the desolate, dusty shack town that resembles Blikkiesdorp.

The residents have asked a court to compel the City of Cape Town to provide alternative temporary housing for the 28 families close to the city centre.

The matter is back before the Western Cape Town High Court on Wednesday.

In the meantime, residents say the City has proposed they move to Wolwerivier, a temporary relocation area (TRA) along the West Coast, about 41 kilometres from Cape Town.

The nearest town to it is Atlantis, 36 kilometres away.

The have previously rejected a move to Blikkiesdorp in Delft, because they say it was “too dangerous and too far” from the city.

However, yesterday they were shocked to find the two-year old Wolwerivier TRA is a replica of Blikkiesdorp.


SHACK TOWN: Wolwerivier temporary relocation area along the West Coast. CREDIT: Ayanda Ndamane

On Sunday, the residents’ spokesperson Graham Beukes arranged a trip for the group to the area, which has been allocated to them by the City, confirms Reclaim the City’s Daneel Knoetze.

“The only difference is that these shacks are painted,” one flabbergasted resident remarked.

A bakkie and car filled with tenants eager to see their proposed new homes stood speechless, staring at the 4x4m bottle-green and cream-coloured blikkies.

Shaking his head, Graham said: “I do not know what to say about this. This place is dead.”

“There is one creche for children, but no schools, no churches, no shops, and no transport to work. How are we supposed to get to our jobs and where must our children go to school? This is absolutely ridiculous and unacceptable.”

Brenda Smith, 75, looked shell-shocked as she walked around the gravel and sand streets, chatting to residents.

“This can’t be good for our people. I will not survive this place,” says Aunty Brenda.

A Wolwerivier community leader who did not want to be named said they have water and electricity, but no street lights at night. According to her, there were currently 490 shacks, each housing about “10 people”.

“Most people here are unemployed, because they cannot get to work. One bus rides in the morning for school children and drops them in the afternoon. There is nothing else here.”

Bromwell Street residents were supposed to be evicted on 26 September, but the Ndifuni Law Centre managed to acquire a stay of eviction, saying the residents had nowhere to go.

Residents told a court the City was constitutionally obligated to provide them with alternative homes.

However, the City is opposing this application, saying it was a private matter.

Two years ago, the four properties in Bromwell Street were bought by The Hub who wants to erect a middle income block of flats.

Spokesperson for Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille, Pierrinne Leukes, did not want to comment on the possible move to Wolwerivier on Sunday, saying: “This matter is currently before the courts this week. Details will be provided then.”

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