Reprinted from News24, by Marvin Charles – 2024-02-15
The Western Cape High Court has granted a final eviction order in the City of Cape Town’s application to remove homeless people living around Culemborg in the Cape Town CBD.
These areas are in the vicinity of the Nelson Mandela Boulevard intersection with Hertzog Boulevard, Old Marine Drive, and Christiaan Barnard Bridge.
The order includes a standing interdict against any further unlawful occupation of these areas and other City-owned public spaces identified in the order.
In February last year, the court granted the City an interim order for eviction notices to be served at unlawful occupation hotspots along Buitengracht Street, FW de Klerk Boulevard, Foregate Square, Taxi Rank and Foreshore, Helen Suzman Boulevard, Strand Street, Foreshore/N1, Virginia Avenue and Mill Street Bridge.
Over the past few years, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and national lockdown, the number of destitute residents has increased.
The Cape Town CBD, specifically, has seen a sharp increase in people sleeping rough.
The High Court said the City should provide alternative accommodation at its Safe Spaces, and that those who intended taking up alternative accommodation should let the City know no later than 7 March.
It also ordered that the homeless people should vacate the property by 14 March.
“In the event that the respondents [the homeless] fail or refuse to vacate the affected areas of the property, the sheriff and person appointed by the police to the extent necessary, is authorised and directed to from 15 March 2024 to 15 June 2024 to eject the respondents from the affected areas of the property,” it ordered.
The court also authorised the demolishing and removal of structures unlawfully occupied by people should they refuse to vacate.
In a statement, the City said: “The final eviction order for the Culemborg area follows efforts over time by the City to offer social assistance and care interventions to those persons unlawfully occupying public spaces in the area, which is close to City-run Safe Space facilities offering dignified transitional shelter and social programmes to assist people off the streets sustainably.
“Safe Spaces aim to reintegrate people into society, and reunite them with family. Personal development planning and employment opportunities are made available, as are referrals for mental health, medical, and substance abuse treatment.”