Cape Times: Delft invaders await ruling

Delft invaders await ruling

4 February 2008, 07:43

Hundreds of families who invaded unfinished houses in Delft, are anxiously awaiting this week’s Cape High Court judgment on whether they should be evicted.

While security guards deployed at some entry points to the government’s housing project near Symphony Way kept a close watch on who entered the area and what they brought in, residents said they were feeling stressed, but were confident the court would rule in their favour.

The state housing agency Thubelisha Homes has asked the court for permission to evict backyard dwellers from Delft and surrounding areas who had occupied houses in December.

Residents claim they were overlooked during the allocation of houses built as part of the N2 Gateway project.

“Over the past few days it has been very tense. People have been nervous, but as Wednesday approaches they are becoming more positive. Now we can’t wait for the big P – meaning the positive outcome of the case. We trust in God and believe firmly things will go our way,” Delft Anti-Eviction co-ordinator Beverley Jacobs said on Sunday.

She said that after speaking to people who invaded about 1 600 houses, indications were that while they were positive about the outcome of the court case, there would be great unhappiness should the judgment go against them.

“People are sick and tired with the government. They are gatvol (fed up) of suffering and waiting. We reject the 70-30 split of house allocation the government wants. We want fairness and there is nothing racial about this,” Jacobs said.

People living in the unfinished houses said they had no concerns about their safety because neighbours looked out for each other, but that they were worried about the lack of water and ablution facilities.

Nasrodien Marcus, who occupied a house with his wife and two children, said: “We moved in here out of sheer desperation and because there is just no other choice. All peaceful means of highlighting our plight have been ignored.

“It is only now that authorities are taking us seriously. We just want to live in peace. We make use of gas lamps, but I must walk about a kilometre to fetch water.”

Cape High Court Justice Deon van Zyl last week granted the residents a chance to consult their lawyers before the case resumed this week.

Jacobs, Marcus and a Delft mother, Shireen Mars, praised DA ward councillor Frank Martin for his leadership when the houses were invaded.

“He showed us how a councillor should serve his community and how to fight for people’s interest,” said Mars.

Martin, who faces charges that include fraud and incitement, and is expected back in court in April, said he felt proud to be recognised for helping the Delft residents.

“I took people through a process on how to become a house beneficiary and complete all relevant documentation and register on a database,” he said.

“I’m proud when people say their councillor assisted them in their need,” Martin said.

Thubelisha Homes managing director Xhanti Sigcawu could not be reached for comment.


This article was originally published on page 3 of The Cape Times on February 04, 2008