Media: Tenants seek help as rent hikes lead to evictions

10 08 2009
August 07, 2009 Edition 1
Fouzia van der Fort – Cape Argus

SEVERAL Woodstock families are seeking legal help after rental increases of up to 100 percent resulted in evictions.

Community leader Tahir Levy said more than 15 families had already left their homes after receiving letters from their landlords because they could not afford the increases.

Some families had been forced to move to the Blikkies Dorp informal settlement in Delft. Read the rest of this entry »


Poor residents illegally evicted in Woodstock because of City bylaw

27 05 2009
Woodstock Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Release
Tuesday, 26 May, 2009

Today, just across the road from evicted Gympie Street residents, another illegal eviction took place at 12A Victoria Rd in Woodstock.

This illegal eviction happened without a court order, without the Sheriff of the Court and despite the fact that all residents have continued to pay rent on a consistent basis. Read the rest of this entry »

Gympie Street residents overcome eviction, again

2 05 2009
Woodstock Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Release

Gympie Street residents are relieved to finally be free from the stress and trauma of the past few years in which Pastor Robertson has been threatening to evict them. This final case was decided on April 30, 2009 in favour of the defendants.

Gympie Street residents were originally evicted in 2006 but had moved back into different dwellings in the same building. The government along with Pastor Robertson then charged residents with a contempt of court case which residents easily won on the 20th of November 2008.

This week, in her final judgment, Judge Fredericks argued that the Gympie Street residents’ case was actually already at the high court in 2006. Since the residents had moved into different dwelling in the building, Pastor Robertson and the City of Cape Town could not use an old and invalid eviction order. Read the rest of this entry »

Gympie street back in court to defend their homes

2 04 2009

Woodstock AEC Press Release
No Land, No Vote Campaign!

Who: Gympie Street Residents
When: 7th April 2009
Where: Cape Town Magistrate’s Court
The children of Gympie Street

The children of Gympie Street

In 2006 while we were being forced to live on the pavement – due to evictions – the Mayoral Committee of Housing promised the Gympie Street Residents that they would be given accommodation in old Woodstock Day Hospital after negotiating with Provincial Government. At the same time as this was going on Mrs Zille ignored a personal plea from the children of Gympie Street to address their educational needs, which were being denied due to the fact that they were being forced to live on the pavement and did not have access to proper meals for six weeks. Not long afterwards, once we had moved back into our houses, the City of Cape-Town’s water and electricity departments arrived and removed our water meters and electricity boxes. In doing so, they forced us to live without electricity and use a communal tap to collect water everyday. Through this, Helen Zille and the City of Cape Town have tried to take away our right to water and electricity. We demand that the City reconnect the water in our houses.

Through Mayor Helen Zille’s actions, she is showing that she would be willing to destroy the poor if they stand in the way of her bid to become the next President of South-Africa. Similarly, Pastor Dennis Robertson is willing to destroy a vulnerable community to make money. So all in all between Dennis Robertson and Helen Zille they have tried to take away our right to water, our right to electricity, our right to housing and our children’s right to education. Seeing that according to them we should not have any rights, we are refusing to vote in this year’s elections.

We would like to invite all Social-Movements, Trade Unions, NGO’s, etc, to show solidarity and support us in our bid to reclaim our rights. We also call on them not to vote for any of the parasites that make up the political parties in South Africa.

For more information contact:

Willy (Woodstock Anti-Eviction Campaign) @ 073 144 3619, Margaret @ 072 642 7386, Gary (WCAEC) @ 072 392 5859, Zehir @ 082 492 5207

In South Africa: No Money, No Justice

24 03 2009
Woodstock Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Release
Wednesday 24th of March, 2009

In South Africa, if you are poor your right to justice through the legal system is often denied. If you don’t have money for lawyers its hard to get justice. Therefore, the law is for the rich because they have ample money to buy ‘justice’. Landlords who have money can afford to try and evict people continuously by accessing the courts and paying the best lawyers to throw people out of their houses. In South Africa, communities don’t have money to continuously go to court to fight for, what should be, their basic rights. In the legal system, you are discriminated against if you are poor.

Take the example of Gympie Street. The landlord has taken the residents of Gympie Street to court over and over in order to evict them. This seems to be a strategy to drain the community of resources, so that in the end they won’t have any money to pay for lawyers and gain access to the courts and resist anymore. Indeed, the people of Gympie Street have already spent more than R 45 000 on legal costs. This is outrageous considering that the people of Gympie Street are already poor. The legal costs of Gympie Street also show no sign of slowing. The landlord has now taken two houses in the Street to court again. Each household now has to come up with R 8 000 each for legal costs in order to defend their right to decent housing. This is going to be very difficult considering these households are impoverished. Obviously, targeting these two households alone is a tactic by the landlord to divide the community and place the financial burden of the legal costs onto these two families. No doubt the landlord plans to use this tactic to pick each household off one by one. In the end, the landlord wants every household to be drained of the little resources that they have, so he can kick them out of their houses.

The case of the two households has been set for the 7th of April. We call on all social movements, trade unions and NGOs etc. to come to the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on the day in solidarity with Gympie Street.

For more information or if you wish to provide any kind of assistance contact:

Willy Heyn (Woodstock Anti-Eviction Campaign) 073 144 3619

St James Street residents defend themselves in court against illegal eviction

19 03 2009
Woodstock Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Statement
Date: 2009-03-18
Judge: Jaxa

Today in the Cape Town Magistrates Court the respondents’ (St James Street) attorney Mr Zehir Omar argued that they are not unlawful occupiers. He argued that they signed a proper lease agreement and have paid their rent on time.

On the 18th of September 2008, however, the tenants received an eviction letter from Steer & Company to inform them to vacate the property on the latest by midnight on the 30th of November 2008. Nonetheless, Steer and Company failed to realise that the standing lease agreement between the lessor (Beverly Hofmeyer) and the lessee (St James Street) had a clause which stipulated that the lease agreement renewed automatically every year on the 1st of December. After various submissions Mr Omar also argued that under Section 27 of the Prevention of Illegal Eviction (PIE) Act it was not just and equitable that the respondents be evicted from the property and most importantly the applicants failed to provide the Honourable Court with a proper report from the City of Cape Town Municipality on alternative suitable accommodation. As a result, Mr Omar suggested to the Court that the case be dismissed with costs.

Most disturbingly the applicant’s lawyer – Ms Maria Christodul – argued that in the past it had not been necessary to apply for a report on alternative accommodation from the City of Cape before evicting tenants. She said that in the past the City of Cape Town employees had been too busy to consider such applications, and in her words had thrown such applications in the “rubbish bin”. With these words she closed her argument. If Ms Christodul is to be believed, then this means that the rich capitalists have been evicting people without even following proper procedures and have used their power to remove the poor to the outskirts of the City.

The Judge will give her verdict on the case on the 8th of April 2009.

Mr Omar will also be representing Gympie Street residents on the 7th of April 2009 against Pastor Robertson, who is once again attempting to evict them from their homes.

The people of St James Street and Gympie Street would like to invite all social movements, trade unions, and NGOs to come to  the Court on the 7th and 8th of April 2009 in solidarity.

For further information contact:

Willy (Woodstock AEC) 073 144 3619
Sharifa/Aysha 073 132 8746
Gary (WCAEC) 072 392 5859
Zehir Omar (attorney) 082 492 5207

Gympie Street and St James Street Appear in Court on the same day

6 03 2009
Woodstock AEC Press Release
Friday 6th March, 2009

Throughout Woodstock, slumlords have continued their attack on tenants.

In the lastest salvo, Mr Hofmeyer from Steer & Company is attempting to evict people from their houses in St James Street. As part of this, 6 households of St James Street have been required to appear in the Cape Town Magistrates Court on the 11th of March 2009. On the very same day, two households from Gympie Street also have to appear in Court at the same venue. This latest attack by the Robertsons and the likes of Steer & Company is aimed denying people their right to housing.

As the Woodstock Anti-Eviction Campaign we condemn this latest move by these landlords to throw people out of their homes and community. These landlords grow fat and rich; while the poor suffer.

For more information contact Willy Heyn (WCAEC and Gympie Street) 073 144 3619  or Sharifa Daniels (St James Street) 021 447 4973 or Aisha Hoosan (St James Street) at 073 132 8746

For general information on evictions, contact Ashraf Cassiem (WCAEC) at 076 186 1408