Today the Western Cape High Court will hear an urgent application by the Bromwell Street families, who are facing eviction, to compel the City of Cape Town to give them alternative housing.
The 28 families are set to be evicted on Monday, 26 September, by landowners The Woodstock Hub, who want to erect an apartment block in place of the block of semi-detached houses.
This after Mayor Patricia De Lille said it was a private matter and she couldn’t assist the families as a group, and encouraged them to apply for social housing.
But the families say De Lille has a legal duty to provide them with temporary housing close to where they are living, and have even provided her with a map showing vacant City-owned land.
There have been cases in South Africa before where courts ruled in favour of residents, say lawyers from Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre who are assisting the victims.
They cited a Constitutional Court ruling in 2011 where the City of Johannesburg was forced to give houses to land invaders who occupied Blue Moonlight Properties.
“This application should pave the way for a City of Cape Town programme to give evictees temporary alternative accommodation, as near as possible to the homes from which they are evicted,” says Ndifuna Ukwazi’s Daneel Knoetze.
“We know the City has the necessary precedents to draw upon and the land available for them to fulfil this obligation to Bromwell Street and other evicted families, especially those in the Woodstock/Salt River area,” says Knoetze.
Spokesperson for the Mayor, Pierrinne Leukes says :“Although a thorough investigation hasn’t been completed regarding the vacant spaces, it appears most of the land identified is not owned by the City and those owned by the City are already earmarked/committed to either housing development and/or provision of services in terms of the City’s mandate.