PICKET: Hanover Park Women's Forum and pensioners protest eviction from local civic centre

Women’s organisations and pensioners in Hanover Park are unhappy after they were evicted from the civic centre by the City of Cape Town.
They say the centre serves as a safe haven for residents when gang gun battles break out, and has been used by pensioners for the past 30 years for various activities.

But the City could be in the wrong as the organisations were given a 30-day eviction notice on 27 June, meaning they had until 27 July to vacate the premises.

The Hanover Park Women’s Forum is the umbrella body for 15 registered women’s organisations at the centre, which they’ve been occupying for the past eight years.

Yesterday they picketed outside ward councillor Antonio van der Rheede’s office, claiming he is the reason they were ousted.

'BLAMED': Van der Rheede

Forum chairwoman, Pastor Muriel George, says they were given no notice of eviction.

“On Friday, a facility officer was sent by the new facility manager to tell us to vacate,” she says.

“We were shocked. We heard rumours about evictions, but no one ever came to confirm those rumours. Where must we go now?

“We never had any problems and always followed the rules as stipulated.

“The ward councillor refuses to work with us as he says we keep ‘bad company’.”

She said seniors were also left out in the cold.

“The people were shocked, confused and asked if they had done wrong.”

But Van der Rheede denies the eviction is not his doing.

“The reality is, this is an administrative process over which I have no power or influence. The regularisation of community facilities will be to the benefit of the thousands of residents in my ward and will also level the playing field for many organisations that have contacted me, seeking answers about why certain organisations have access to the facilities at the exclusion of others.”

According to Mayoral Committee Member for Safety, Security and Social Services, JP Smith, the Women’s Forum was given a 30-day eviction notice on 27 June.

He says the regularisation process will also affect other suburbs such as Manenberg and Athlone.

“The affected organisations were informed on 27 June 2017 and the communication indicated that they have 30 days to vacate the spaces,” says Smith.

“The reason for the process is that many organisations have been occupying space without formal agreements being in place.

“Ignoring the lack of agreements would be in contravention of the Municipal Asset Transfer Regulations put in place by National Government.”

He says registered NGOs and accredited organisations, including those who were evicted, can now apply for space at the Council-owned facilities.