Escrache – Brett Herron
"Have you any idea what is going on in our Court system, who is being relocated to these camps and under what conditions this is happening? We are sending people into poverty.” – Maxine Bezuidenhout to Cllr Brett Herron.We call this escraché – holding politicians personally accountable for the things they say and the decisions they make. We treated the MAYCO member for Transport and Urban Development in Cape Town to Koesiesters and Koffie outside his home this morning.
Posted by Reclaim the City on Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Pickwick Street Transitional Housing
Relocation Camp Wolwerivier
Ouma Delia has heard about Wolwerivier, now she takes us on a journey to visit the dusty relocation camp in Cape Town. The City still insists Wolwerivier is a good relocation camp for evictees. Four walls does not make home, where you live matters!
Posted by Reclaim the City on Friday, March 9, 2018
Another victory for Reclaim the City! Today the Bromwell Street families were back in Court, defended by lawyers from Ndifuna Ukwazi. They asked Judge Sher to change the relief they are seeking against the City and he agreed.In public, the City committed to roll out transitional housing for evictees but in the Courts, they still argue that the City has no obligation to provide evictees with temporary emergency accommodation in the city centre and surrounds. This is unfair. They are happy to make promises as politicians but they don't want the Court to rule on this.So the Bromwell Street families are challenging the City's housing plan itself which if successful could have a big impact for all families facing eviction and displacement in well-located areas. They want the Court to rule that the City's plans are unconstitutional because they only offer relocation camps. Now the parties will have to file more affidavits to answer this question and then a hearing date will be agreed. It will take time, but in the interim, the Bromwell Street families will stay in their homes.
Posted by Reclaim the City on Monday, August 13, 2018
In 2006, the Old Biscuit Mill business complex and luxury goods market opened next to the Bromwell Street families’ homes. The opening of the Old Biscuit Mill ushered in an era of gentrification and rising property prices in Woodstock – a working class area, and one of the few neighbourhoods where black and coloured people were not forcibly removed from during apartheid.
In 2013, the Woodstock Hub, property developers who specialise in rental housing development, purchased the Bromwell Street homes. The tenants tried to find the directors of the Woodstock Hub, so that they could continue paying rent. Instead of meeting with the new tenants, the company’s directors, Jacques van Embden, Arthur Winkler and Arnold Shapiro, started court proceedings in July 2015 and secured an order to finally evict the tenants on 9 September 2016.
With days to go before the eviction of Bromwell Street’s families, supporters from Reclaim the City rallied to support them. On 27 September, we marched with the tenants and occupied the Saturday market at the Old Biscuit Mill. The Old Biscuit Mill occupation brought the struggle against evictions to the heart of gentrification, and attention in the media and on social media made this struggle a city-wide talking point.
With increasing pressure on her government to intervene and assist the Bromwell Street families, Mayor Patricia de Lille called at their homes on 8 September. Although she committed to look into the possibility of rehousing the families in the Woodstock area, De Lille refused to acknowledge that her government has an obligation to do so. The City of Cape Town consider such evictions to be “private” matters, and that it therefore is absolved of any obligation to intervene or provide assistance.
Reclaim the City, the Bromwell families argue that the City has a constitutional obligation to provide Bromwell Street, and all evicted families facing homelessness in Woodstock, Salt River and the city, with temporary alternative accommodation in the area. We base this argument on the jurisprudence of Constitutional Court. In 2011, the City of Johannesburg Metorpolitan Municipality v Blue Moonlight Properties 39 (Pty) Ltd and Another matter, the Constitutional Court ruled that municipalities were constitutionally obliged to provide evictees with temporary alternative accommodation as near as feasibly possible to the area from which they are evicted.In the past, the City has rehoused families evicted from the Woodstock area in a relocation camp, called Blikkiesdorp, kilometers from Woodstock and CBD
On 23 September 2016, the Bromwell Street families, represented by the Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre, brought an urgent application before the Western Cape High Court, to stall the eviction while the court rules on the City’s obligation to provide the evicted families with emergency accommodation in the area. The case is due to be heard on 31 January.