Reprinted from News 24, by Marvin Charles – 2021-09-20
The City of Cape Town has demolished several structures and tents occupied by homeless people on part of a stand earmarked for a land restitution settlement in District Six.
The evictions angered activists who say it forms part of a series of illegal evictions by the City. On Sunday a massive law enforcement operation was carried out, using trucks and cranes to remove the tents and personal belongings of homeless people who had been living there.
City Law Enforcement spokesperson Wayne Dyason said officers were enforcing the City’s by-laws.
“Law Enforcement confirms that the City’s Social Development Department offers assistance to help people get off the streets sustainably. The offer is to relocate them to one of the City’s Safe Spaces, or any night shelter. All people found on site are made this offer,” he said.
When asked whether the eviction was part of a court order, the City said it was carried out under its current by-laws.
In May the City urgently approached the Western Cape High Court for an interdict against people intending to illegally occupy the land, which is earmarked for District Six claimants who have waited decades for restitution after apartheid-era forced removals.
However, over the last few months tents were pitched at various open spaces in the CBD and surrounds.
Last month, law enforcement officers evicted 21 people living in tents and informal structures next to the Green Point Tennis Court. At the time Ndifuna Ukwazi said the eviction occurred without law enforcement officers producing a court order authorising the eviction.
Jared Sacks, a social justice activist, was at the site in District Six while Law Enforcement destroyed the structures, saying:
He added the residents told him they have nowhere else to go.
“The residents/occupiers confirmed to me that these tents and structures were their homes and that the removal of their tents, structures and other belongings meant that they’ve been rendered homeless,” Sacks added.
Social development activist Lorenzo Davids said it was clear what the City’s intentions toward the homeless are.
“They harassed the homeless without a particular court order or instruction to legalise the operation. The City removed assets and people’s property. The harassment and illegal removal of people’s assets becomes problematic for the City’s treatment towards homeless.”
For further information
Simon Dippenaar & Associates, Inc. is a Cape Town law firm of specialist eviction lawyers, now operating in Johannesburg and Durban, helping both landlords and tenants with the eviction process. Contact one of our eviction attorneys on 086 099 5146 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you need advice on the eviction process or if you are facing unlawful eviction.