‘They can try to evict us’



September 8, 2016
‘They can try to evict us’

PROTEST: Reclaim the City are assisting Bromwell Street residents. CREDIT: Brendan Magaar

Bromwell Street residents vow to stand ground on Friday.

The residents of Bromwell Street say they will not go down without a fight when evictions are carried out tomorrow.

The 28 Woodstock families said a last-minute meeting with directors of the new property owners, The Hub, clearly didn’t change the landlords’ minds about putting them on the street.

And a meeting with Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille yesterday left residents “shocked and speechless”.

The Bromwell Street community are due to be evicted tomorrow, more than two years after they received their eviction notices.

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.

Residents have accused The Hub owners of gentrification, and asked the City of Cape Town to step in, insisting they want homes near the city.

Mayco member for Housing, Benedicta van Minnen, told the families they could be accommodated in Blikkiesdorp, Delft, but they have refused, saying their lives would be in danger in the violence-torn area.

Police said 31 people were killed in Delft last month.

Residents’ spokesperson Charnell Commando says they were surprised to see De Lille.

“We have basically made our peace that The Hub’s people will not be assisting us in a way that will suit us. The housing woman, Van Minnen, told us to go live in Blikkiesdorp and provincial housing has also said they cannot help us. So the mayor coming here just to listen and talk to us was absolutely shocking,” says Commando.

De Lille’s spokesperson, Pierrinne Leukes, says the mayor had “recently” heard of their plight and wants to assist.

“Mayor De Lille is hard at work looking for solutions with all parties involved,” said Leukes.

Meanwhile, in a statement on Tuesday, The Hub said the reason for Monday’s meeting was not to extend the eviction deadline, but rather to find jobs for residents and hand over a crowdfunding kitty to assist the residents, which now stood at R75 000.

Charnell said The Hub proposed that they work as street cleaners for the Straatwerkers NGO for R50 per day.

She says: “You will feel like an idiot if you take a R50 home to your family. That is nothing. We don’t want their jobs or money. We just want homes we can live in. Real homes, not blikkies we will die in.”

“We are not going anywhere, we will resist this eviction.”

When the Daily Voice visited Bromwell Street yesterday, there was no sign of residents packing or preparing to move.

The community is also planning on holding a street fair, starting at noon today, to show their “unity”.

Daneel Knoetze from Reclaim the City, who have been assisting residents, would only say: “Negotiations are at a sensitive stage.”

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