Category Archives: Fatima Schroeder

Cape Argus: ‘We won’t go to Blikkiesdorp’

‘We won’t go to Blikkiesdorp’

Symphony Way safer, say residents


THE CONTROVERSIAL pavement-dwellers in Symphony Way in Delft got their marching orders from the Cape High Court, which ordered them to relocate to temporary accommodation in Blikkiesdorp.

However, the residents say that while they are willing to move, they will not move to “that dump”.The order, which affects more than 100 families, gives them until next Thursday to “engage meaningfully” with the City of Cape Town on the dates of the relocation, and to set up a timetable for the relocation process.

Should they reach an agreement, the parties were also ordered to return to court on October 19 to have it made an order of court.

However, if they do not reach an agreement the court will order that the families vacate he area in four groups, starting on October 19 and ending on November 6.

Acting Judge Jake Moloi ordered that their temporary accommodation at Blikkiesdorp should be at least 18m178, individually numbered, have walls and a roof constructed of galvanised iron sheeting, have prepaid electricity meters, be close to ablution facilities and toilets, and have taps with fresh water.

The City also had to engage the affected residents one week before each relocation, and assist with the move.

The court also interdicted the residents from returning to the property once they had been relocated.

Last night however, the residents of Section B, as the Symphony Way area is commonly known, said they would use the relocation negotiations to try and move somewhere other than to Blikkiesdorp.

Ashraf Cassiem, chairman of the Anti-Eviction Campaign, confirmed that the residents were willing to move, but wanted their own space, instead of being forced into what he called “that dump”.

“We understand that they want us to move, but we refuse to go to Blikkiesdorp. It’s filled with crime and drugs. We don’t want our children to grow up in that environment. No matter what the court said, we know we are a lot better off here,” said Cassiem.

Another resident of the area, Theo Erasmus, said that while life was not easy in Section B, it was a lot better than the alternative.

“I’m an unemployed father of three and every morning before I go out looking for work, I have to collect firewood and water for my family.

“It’s very hard to survive but my three daughters will have a better future here than in Blikkiesdorp,” he said.

The Section B families were initially removed from N2 Gateway houses in Delft last year after they had invaded unfinished units there intended for project beneficiaries.

They were supposed to move temporarily to Blikkiesdorp at that time, but set up shacks on the pavement in Symphony Way, prompting city authorities to approach the High Court to have them removed.

The case came before Judge Moloi this week, and he went to Blikkiesdorp on Tuesday.

In court yesterday, he said the temporary accommodation in Blikkiesdorp was adequate.

Counsel for the City, Rob Stelzner, tendered a written order, which Judge Moloi granted. He did not make any costs order.

Cape Town: 5 000 from Joe Slovo at court to fight N2 evictions

Joe Slovo residents fight eviction notices
September 25 2007 at 06:32PM
By Dianne Hawker

Thousands of Joe Slovo residents gathered on the Foreshore on Tuesday morning to oppose the department of housing’s decision to evict from the N2 Gateway housing site.

The protest comes on the eve of a planned removal of families from Joe Slovo to Delft to accommodate the N2 Gateway project.

Hundreds of residents boarded trains in Langa into Cape Town on Tuesday morning.

Shouts of “viva” could be heard outside the Spoornet building in Adderley Street as the large group of men, women and children, arrived bearing eviction notices which were served on them last week.

The group did not appear to have any legal representation but a man, using a public address system, could be seen calling groups of five people to come forward at a time to have the eviction notices stamped.

There was a strong presence of SAPS and Metro Police who kept watch over the crowd, which demonstrated peacefully.

A fortnight ago, protesting Joe Slovo residents blocked the N2 highway for several hours during violent clashes with police over a government plan to temporarily move them to Delft.

The housing department then approached the Cape High Court for an order which sought to allow the removal of 100 families per week, for the next 45 weeks, to temporary housing in Delft.


5 000 at court to fight N2 evictions

Fatima Schroeder
September 26 2007 at 07:42AM

It was a day Cape High Court officials will probably never forget.

Two tables were hauled into the foyer of the court building and officials lined up behind them to stamp about 10 000 documents – two copies of a notice from each of the 5 000 families living at the Joe Slovo informal settlement to say they intend to oppose a government application for their eviction.

The notice was a single page, comprising no more than 150 words, and had to be stamped twice: by the court and attorneys.

It took the gathering of about 5 000 people more than five hours to have each of their two copies stamped by the court and by employees of Nongogo and Nuku Attorneys – the firm representing the government and housing company Thubelisha Homes.

They came by train to the city centre shortly before 11am and moved to the Paul Sauer building to the firm of attorneys representing the government and Thubelisha Homes.

There they wanted to serve a copy of the notice on the attorneys.

But they were told to wait outside the court, where representatives of the firm would receive the notices.

The large crowd then peacefully made its way across Adderley Street, into St George’s Mall to the Cape High Court, stopping traffic and attracting the puzzled gazes of curious onlookers.

Some stopped in the middle of their shopping or lunches to ask what the march was about.

The armed police officers who had followed the march from the Foreshore to the court building blocked off roads to make way for marchers and sped off to the high court to wait for the people to arrive.

The crowd stopped in Keerom Street outside the court and sat in the road waiting for those in charge to explain the process.

Five residents at a time were allowed to get up and proceed to five women representing the attorneys.

The attorneys’ stamp was necessary proof that the residents had served the document on them.

Five women – two standing and three sitting on the steps of the court building – stamped each page before signing it and giving the date and time it was received.

After a while, employees of the nearby coffee shop, Castello’s, said the women could use their tables and chairs.

In other cases, the documents are taken to room one in the building to be stamped.

But on Monday, officials working in that office and in other parts of the building set up tables in the foyer for the stamping of the documents.

The first batch were brought into the building and court official Andrew Fraser began stamping.

Moments later the others joined him.

The legal co-ordinator of the Anti-Eviction Campaign, Ashraf Cassiem, said the residents would have liked to have obtained legal representation, but there was no time to apply for legal aid.

The residents had to represent themselves and had to file individual notices of intention to oppose the application, he said.

But he emphasised that the crowd was not there to cause chaos.

“We want to prove that we are not the hooligans they say we are,” he said.

Mzonke Poni. of the Anti-Eviction Campaign, said he was aware of the difficulties in filing and serving the documents the way the residents had done.

But he added that they were all lay people.

“We’ll do it the lay way,” he said.

Last week, Cape Judge President John Hlophe granted a temporary order for people to be moved.

The order was sought by Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, housing company Thubelisha, which is overseeing the N2 Gateway project, and MEC for Local Government and Housing Richard Dyantyi.

The government wants to clear land in Joe Slovo for formal housing.

Temporary housing has been arranged in Delft for the families who are to be moved.

But the people to be moved say Delft is too far away.

A schedule has been prepared for 100 families a week to be moved to Delft, beginning on Tuesday.

This will not take place, however, if the residents succeed in persuading the court that the order should not be made final.