Media: NGO claims eviction of families was unlawful

23 01 2010

January 22, 2010 Edition 2
Staff Writer – Cape Times

THE Anti Eviction Campaign has rejected the council’s claim that it removed 16 families from the Blikkiesdorp temporary relocation area because they were living there illegally.

The NGO, which fights for the rights of the city’s homeless, claimed the forced eviction was illegal.
“This was done completely unlawfully, without any High Court eviction order, without any explanation and even more inexplicably, it was done by the same city officials who installed people there in the first place,” said the NGO’s Willy Heyn.

He said among those evicted on Wednesday were a pregnant woman, several babies, as well as children attending nearby schools. There was also an unaccompanied 17-year-old single mother who was placed in Blikkiesdorp by city officials and then evicted again, he said.

He conceded that people had illegally occupied the units, a situation he blamed on officials for failing to issue them with the proper authorisation to stay in Blikkiesdorp.

“Right now they’re squatting outside of the ‘concentration camp’, the community has been giving them food since last night,” said Heyn.

Alida Kotzee, an official at the city’s housing department, confirmed the evictions saying those who had occupied the 16 units had done so illegally.

“This is a case of illegal occupancy and these families deprived the rightful residents of their chances of getting a place to stay. It is also a case of damage to property,” she said.

She denied that two city officials had placed the people in the units.

She added that the city had not required a court order because it was not a case of evicting the people but removing those who were living illegally in the units.

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