[DEBATE] : (Fwd) Showdown at Joe Slovo settlement
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Sun Dec 23 08:19:01 GMT 2007
Relocation or forced removal?
22 December 2007 11:59
Judge President John Hlophe will rule soon on what has become the
hottest housing issue in Cape Town -- whether to give government the
go-ahead to forcibly remove 20 000 Joe Slovo residents to Delft.
The minister of housing, Lindiwe Sisulu, asked the courts to pave the
way for the eviction of the residents.
The community, which has occupied the land for 15 years, refuses to
move. Some residents say they will move only if the government builds
houses in Joe Slovo for at least 70% of them.
Last week Hlophe reserved judgement in the Cape High Court on the
application brought by government and its housing agency, Thubelisha
Homes, to evict the residents.
But an eviction schedule was tabled in court. It will start with 45
families being moved to Delft on the January 28. Evictions will continue
for 45 weeks.
Advocate Geoff Budlender, representing the residents, says this is “the
most serious eviction case [he] ha[s] handled”.
Budlender says he cannot “remember another case in which government
started the eviction of a settled community of 20 000 people where
people have lived for as long as 15 years”.
The state claims the residents are illegally occupying land and should
be removed under the Prevention of Illegal Evictions and Unlawful
Occupation of Lands Act.
The community claims the state failed to show ownership of Joe Slovo --
no title deed was produced -- and, without proof of ownership, it cannot
be forced out.
The community says it needed the help of the courts because the housing
department and the provincial housing department, under MEC Richard
Dyanti, promised residents that if they moved to Delft, houses would be
built for them in Joe Slovo.
“This did not happen. Phase one of the N2 Gateway provided only one Joe
Slovo resident with a house and there are about 2 000 families living
here,” says community leader Manyenzeke Sopaqa.
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