The City of Cape Town is gearing up to evict the more than 900 people occupying Woodstock Hospital. Picture: Cindy Waxa/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
The City of Cape Town is gearing up to evict the more than 900 people occupying Woodstock Hospital. Picture: Cindy Waxa/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Cissie Gool House occupants served with court order

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Time of article published Feb 15, 2021

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Cape Town - People occupying the Cissie Gool House (Woodstock Hospital) were served with a court order by the sheriff of the court over the weekend.

The City wants to conduct a survey of the occupants of the hospital.

The City said the court-ordered survey was needed to determine the number of illegal occupants, their identities, monthly income, eligibility for state-subsidised housing, and willingness to vacate the property so that social housing plans are not further delayed. Mayoral member for human settlements Malusi Booi said the survey will also seek to understand whether the occupants have received housing opportunities or not.

Booi said a previous attempt to conduct a socio-economic survey was blocked by illegal occupants, “hence we have gone to court to seek relief on this particular matter”.

Reclaim the City Woodstock leader Karen Hendricks said they could not comment further on the matter until they have engaged and liaised with their legal team.

“We have been served by the sheriff with a court order for the survey. The City will be appearing in court on the 26th of February to seek relief for the order to be handed down and to conduct the survey,” Fredericks said.

In a previous statement Reclaim the City said the City was trying to paint the families occupying the hospital and Ahmed Kathrada House as “jumping the queue”, suggesting that they were taking away housing opportunities from people on the waiting list.

“But that’s simply not true. Many of the families living in the occupations would qualify for housing assistance, so the City is trying to create divisions among communities where it should be helping to build bridges to address the significant housing crisis,” the statement said.

The movement also said the City had not engaged with the families living in these occupations in any meaningful way.

Hendricks said the occupations have built a refuge and community for residents who have been living in these areas for decades, with little dependency on the City.

“Many families from all walks of life have found safety, security and a place to call home here in a city that faces an ongoing housing crisis, in terms of affordability and supply. Together, we have initiated programmes for residents, including women’s wellness circles and men’s meetings to combat gender-based violence, crèches, social support for the elderly and skills-based training like permaculture gardening,” she said.

Booi said social housing could be derailed at Woodstock Hospital if the Ndifuna Ukwazi-enabled occupants refuse to vacate and the necessary high court orders are not granted. He said all role-players must actively discourage attempts to illegally occupy land.

Cape Argus

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