‘Let us stay’



September 6, 2016
‘Let us stay’

Time is running out for the 28 families facing eviction from the Bromwell Street homes. CREDIT: Brendan Magaar

Bromwell residents meet owners in last bid to fight eviction.

The 28 families of Bromwell Street in Woodstock who are being evicted by the new owners have made a last ditch plea to save their homes.

Residents had a meeting with owners and lawyers of The Hub yesterday, hoping to buy some time before they are put out on Friday.

The new owners said the block of seven semi-detached homes is to be thrown down to make way for a high-rise apartment building, which will be rented out for between R5 000 and R9 000 a month per flat.

The City says the matter is out of their hands and backed a court ruling to carry out the eviction.

Resident Charnell Commando said they met the new owners face to face for the first time yesterday.

The families said they are dreading moving out of the city to temporary relocation areas like Blikkiesdorp, which is a hot spot for crime.

The Hub has previously stated it can no longer postpone the eviction, which has been dragging out for two years.

Commando says no decisions were made yesterday, and a follow-up meeting has been scheduled for tomorrow.

“We got an opportunity to speak to the owners, which has never happened before. It was the first time we were able to speak to them and explain our plight. They will let us know on Wednesday what will happen next,” she says.

“I don’t know what is going to happen, but I am hopeful that they will help us,” says Charnell.

Last week the residents of Bromwell Street embarked on a protest at the Old Biscuit Mill, following rumours that their houses were being destroyed to make way for a parking lot.

One of the owners of The Hub, Jacques van Embdon, said they would be starting a crowd-funding initiative to raise money for the evictees, and pledged R50 000 of their own towards the fund.

The residents are being supported by activists, Reclaim the City, who are opposing gentrification – when locals are forced to leave an area due to a sudden increase in rates and property prices.

Bromwell Street residents have asked the City of Cape Town to intervene but the Mayco Member for Human Settlements Bennedicta van Minnen says it’s a private sale and out of the City’s hands.

“The Court had to take into account all relevant circumstances, including the financial contribution made by Woodstock Hub (PTY) Ltd to the respondents, and the Court found that it was just and equitable to evict the respondents without emergency housing being provided,” said Van Minnen.

The Hub said they would only comment after tomorrow’s meeting.

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