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Fears that repeal of state of disaster will lead to evictions and homelessness

Ndifuna Ukwazi research head Michael Clark said lifting the ban on evictions would drive even more people into homelessness. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Ndifuna Ukwazi research head Michael Clark said lifting the ban on evictions would drive even more people into homelessness. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 6, 2022

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Cape Town - The lifting of the state of disaster has led to fears of homelessness among people who until now had “sheltered” under regulations prohibiting evictions for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

Ndifuna Ukwazi research head Michael Clark said lifting the ban on evictions would drive even more people into homelessness, overwhelm the courts and have potentially disastrous public-health consequences.

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“We’ve seen that in other countries where eviction moratoria have been lifted, that a slew of illegal and legal evictions (followed), forcing many out into the cold.”

Among those affected by the changes announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday is Ruyterwacht Community Association chairperson Mandisa Zamile, who said she now fears that social housing giant Communicare will be ruthless in its pursuit of evictions.

“Communicare will continue mercilessly with their mass evictions as our tenants do not have money to oppose these evictions in court.”

She said any evictions by Communicare would add to the social housing crisis in Cape Town and add a housing burden on the province.

Communicare chief operating officer Makhosi Kubheka said that the halting of evictions during the state of disaster was a common misconception and that evictions could take place during alert level 1.

She said Communicare always applied all regulations under the national state of disaster.

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“Property owners have no authority to evict tenants. Only the courts can do that after tenants had a fair opportunity to state their case in a court of law. All evictions are subject to these legal proceedings and are carried out by the sheriff of the court.”

With regard to people such as those occupying Central Line rail tracks in Langa and Philippi, Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) spokesperson Andiswa Makanda said: “The Housing Development Agency is facilitating the relocation of those settled on Prasa land.”

She said this relocation came about following last year’s court order when the Western Cape High Court granted Prasa an extension for the lawful relocation of residents illegally occupying the agency’s property along the Langa railway lines.

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Prasa now has until July to enforce the court order.

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Cape Argus

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