On August 23, 21 people who have been living in tents and informal structures on a piece of vacant land next to the Green Point Tennis Court for over a year were evicted by law enforcement officers from the City of Cape Town. However, the non-profit organisation Ndifuna Ukwai has stated that this eviction was illegal.
The eviction and demolition of these occupiers’ homes were conducted at the instruction of Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato and in the presence of officials from the City’s Social Development Department. The eviction occurred despite law enforcement officials being unable to produce a court order authorising the eviction of the occupiers’ homes.
According to Danielle Louw, an attorney for the occupiers, this is in direct conflict with the Constitution and the Prevention of Illegal Eviction From and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998 (PIE Act), which mandates that a court order considering all relevant circumstances must be granted before an eviction can be executed, as well as a nation-wide moratorium on evictions imposed in response to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic in terms of the Disaster Management Act Regulations.
The occupiers, who are represented by the Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre, are in the process of approaching the Western Cape High Court on an urgent basis for an order directing the City to return their belongings.
This comes after occupiers were forced out of their homes before their tents were dismantled and demolished, with personal belongings being confiscated.
“The illegal eviction of occupiers from the Green Point Tennis Club is an inhumane and senseless act of brutality by the City of Cape Town. Many have suffered from evictions after losing their jobs, livelihoods, and homes as a result of the economic devastation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The City’s illegal actions have left the occupiers destitute and without alternative accommodation. This forced displacement of vulnerable people, amidst the peak of Cape Town’s Third Wave of COVID-19 infections, exposes the City’s lack of sustainable solutions for dealing with people who experience homelessness,” stated Louw.
According to Ndifuna Ukwai, these occupiers have also been issued with a R300 fine.
Pictures: Ndifuna Ukwai