City Told to Meetresidents on Eviction

Article excerpt

A JUDGE has ordered the City of Cape Town to sit down with the residents of an "uninhabitable" development in Gugulethu and discuss acceptable, alternative places for them to live.

The residents themselves believe the buildings are on the brink of collapse, but the development is home to 100 families.

The City of Cape Town wants to evict the residents and tear down the buildings and is seeking an order from the Western Cape High Court.

And, while residents want safer homes, they refuse to settle for the alternative accommodation the city is offering them at Blikkiesdorp, a serviced, temporary relocation area with tin shacks in Delft, about 30km away.

Many of them protested outside the court, where their eviction application was to be heard yesterday.

But Judge Ashley Binns-Ward postponed the hearing, ordering the parties to go back and discuss alternative accommodation for the families.

The development in Gugulethu's Moerat Road is made up of a block of flats called Masonwabe and about 60 houses next to the block named Sandile Park.

Judge Binns-Ward said an insufficient amount of engagement had taken place between the city and the residents, and the alternative accommodation offered by the city seemed to be arrived at "rather arbitrarily".

He ordered them to "engage meaningfully" on the matter, and said the first meeting needed to be held on Monday.

Transcripts of the meeting would be submitted to the court. Also, they needed to report back to the court on October 12.

In court papers, the city said that the structures were such a health and safety risk that they could be knocked down by a severe storm.

The city's advocate, Anton Katz, SC, described the dwellings as "uninhabitable", saying that, by staying there, the residents' dignity was violated daily. …