Staying… for now



September 26, 2016
Staying… for now

PROTEST: Bromwell Street evictees

Relief for Bromwell Street residents as eviction pushed out to November.

Bromwell Street residents breathed a sigh of relief after a court ordered their eviction be postponed to November 4.

Following an urgent application brought before the Western High Court on Friday, the 28 families were given a reprieve from their eviction by new owners, The Woodstock Hub, which was set to take place today.

The Hub acquired the properties two years ago and want to erect an apartment block in place of the row of semi-detached houses.

In a last-minute bid, the Ndifuni Ukwazi Law Centre is suing the City of Cape Town for allegedly failing in its duty to assist the Woodstock families with alternative accommodation.

In court documents, it says the City had an obligation to provide temporary housing for the residents as close to Bromwell Street as possible.

Residents have refused to move to Blikkiesdorp, saying it was too far away.

Mayor Patricia De Lille said she could not help the families as a group, and encouraged them to apply for social housing instead.

After a settlement was reached in court on Friday, the matter was postponed to 4 November when arguments will be heard.

Daneel Knoetze from Ndifuna Ukwazi says they have pointed out vacant land to the City close to Bromwell Street for temporary relocation.

“The eviction order has been suspended until that date, meaning the residents will not be evicted (today). The Bromwell Street families stand to be left homeless if the eviction order is enforced,” he said.

But tenant Charnell Commando says she does not feel hopeful.

“What are the chances that we will win and the City will free up land here in this area for us? From what I know the City is not going to specially assist us unless it is on their terms. They want to move us out of our area and that is not fair,” she says.

City spokeswoman Pierrinne Leukes says they are not to blame for the residents’ plight.

“We are opposing Part B of the founding affidavit in which they state that we are constitutionally obligated to provide the tenants with alternative accommodation,” she says.

“We maintain that this is a private matter and we have no obligation to provide accommodation. Despite this, we proposed possible alternatives to the tenants without prejudice, which they in turn rejected. Now, they are trying to shift blame to the City.”

The Woodstock Hub did not respond to queries.

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