Cape Argus

Anger over Green Point ‘Tent City’ eviction

‘Not permitted to evict off private property’


THE City’s demolition of tents housing homeless people in Green Point has raised the ire of homeless activists, who called the eviction illegal because the tents were on private property.

The Rehoming Collective, a group advocating for homeless people, has demanded answers from the City after law enforcemen­t officers evicted people who had been living in the tents and informal structures for over a year.

More than 20 people living in “Tent City” on the grounds leased by the Green Point Tennis Club, were evicted by the City’s enforcemen­t officers on Monday.

Rehoming Collective member Carlos Mesquita said the City had broken the law. He alleged that they were not permitted to evict anyone off private property.

A concerned Atlantic Seaboard resident, Catherine Dodge, said the officers were not consistent with informatio­n, and were not forthcomin­g with documentat­ion that was needed.

Dodge said in order for evictions to be conducted, a court interdict has to be produced, and only then are officers allowed to come and remove the personal belongings and tents of the individual­s.

“I have asked the lead operator in charge of the operation for the documentat­ion, and they were unable to provide it to me.

“I asked the individual­s who are being evicted if they had been shown the court interdict, no interdict had been shown,” Dodge said

She said that after seeking legal advice, a complaint was lodged against the City manager, the mayor and the lead officer. There were also plans to submit a spoilation claim against the City.

The City said it had received correspond­ence regarding the matter, and requested certain informatio­n on the allegation­s made.

“The City will assess its position once it receives the informatio­n. The City’s rights remain reserved,” the City said.

Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre attorney Daniellé Louw, said the occupiers, who are represente­d by the centre, were in the process of approachin­g the Western Cape High Court on an urgent basis for an order directing the City to return their belongings.

Louw said the illegal eviction of occupants was an inhumane and senseless act of brutality by the City.

“During the inhumane eviction, law enforcemen­t officers forced occupiers out of their homes and ordered them to remove their possession­s before they dismantled tents, demolished homes and confiscate­d occupiers’ personal belongings,” she said.

Louw said many occupiers lost personal effects, including identity documents, drivers’ licences, clinic and medication cards, without which they would be unable to access social support grants or obtain chronic medication.

She said some occupiers were allegedly physically and verbally assaulted by law enforcemen­t officers, including one woman who was tackled to the ground and threatened with arrest after she asked an official to produce an eviction order.

Louw said many have suffered from evictions after losing their jobs, livelihood­s, and homes as a result of the economic devastatio­n brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said the City’s illegal actions had left the occupiers destitute and without alternativ­e accommodat­ion.

“This forced displaceme­nt of vulnerable people, amid the peak of Cape Town’s third wave of Covid-19 infections, exposes the City’s lack of sustainabl­e solutions for dealing with people who experience homelessne­ss,” Louw said.

 ?? ARMAND HOUGH African News Agency (ANA) ?? HOMELESS people from a settlement next to the Green Point tennis courts have been evicted by the City. |
ARMAND HOUGH African News Agency (ANA) HOMELESS people from a settlement next to the Green Point tennis courts have been evicted by the City. |

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