Media: Shack people bake to fight eviction

5 04 2009

March 23, 2009 Edition 1
Karen Breytenbach
Source: Cape Times

A GROUP of more than 100 poor families from Delft say they are holding bake sales and karaoke nights to raise funds for legal representation to fight eviction by the City of Cape Town from their shack dwellings.

Represented by the Anti-Eviction Campaign’s Ashraf Cassiem, the group packed the Cape High Court on Friday to oppose an eviction application by the city.

The group is allegedly unlawfully occupying a piece of land that belongs to the provincial government on the pavement in Symphony Way, Delft.
Johanna Alida Kotzee, the City of Cape Town’s director of housing: strategy, support and co-ordination, said in an affidavit the council was authorised by a memorandum of agreement with the province to institute legal proceedings to evict the group, which had unlawfully occupied the land since February, 2008.

They were initially part of a group evicted by an order of the high court from partly finished houses in Symphony Way. She said there were 103 structures occupied by families.

Kotzee said the city had offered the families alternative accommodation down the road.

The group would not move to the area nicknamed “Blikkiesdorp”, complaining that the shelter there was cold in winter and hot in summer.
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Cassiem said the group was not ready to defend its case, because it had not yet succeeded in finding affordable legal representatives who had not done work for the city.

He said the group had approached a number of attorneys and advocates – whose fees were unaffordable – and was even searching for pro bono lawyers as far afield as Johannesburg.

He said the group wanted good quality representation, even if it came at a price, and was therefore trying to raise funds with the sale of cake and rotis, and karaoke nights.

Acting Judge Francois Joubert said there was a list of advocates at the Cape Bar who did pro bono work, and advised the group to approach the Legal Aid Board and the Cape Law Society for help.

The case was postponed to May 9 after the parties agreed that the group would have until May 8 to find legal representatives and file affidavits.

karen.breytenbach@inl.co.za

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