Cape Town - With the Western Cape High Court giving the green light for the eviction of a group of homeless people at the Three Anchor Bay Tennis Club, an eviction by the sheriff and police was imminent in the coming days, warned the City of Cape Town.
This week, the City said the majority of those who were occupying the site had taken up offers of shelter and social assistance.
Those who had not accepted any offer would be evicted under the court order.
“The court-ordered eviction will now take place in the coming days as a last resort for those who have persistently refused support.
“It is important to note that offers of shelter still stand at all times during this process.
“It is vital that public places must be open and available for all.
“No person has the right to reserve a public space as exclusively theirs, while indefinitely refusing all offers of shelter and social assistance,” said mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.
Anthony Loubser, managing director of Empext (Pty) Ltd, the company that holds the lease for the premises, said the group first started setting up tents around January 2020, before Empext acquired the lease.
“The occupation spilled on to the tennis courts in February 2020, at which time there could have been more than 100 people.
“We tried to assist the community with funding alternative accommodation, which included arranging visits to sites, providing accommodation, setting up a leadership group within the community for better liaison and inviting the Development Action Group to assist with addressing the needs of the community. We also facilitated food and clothes from various entities,” Loubser said.
“We have gotten to know the people who live in the tents and we would like to see them able to get their lives on track and live in humane circumstances.
“We also recognise that the City and other stakeholders are endeavouring to provide the best alternatives with limited resources.
“We are hopeful that the solutions that are provided will enable this community to advance their aspirations as people.”
Founder of Outsider and former homeless man, Carlos Mesquita who has been assisting the group said: “We interviewed them all a year and a half ago as per court instruction and the City promised that their 300 bed Safe Space was going to be transitional in nature and they would get first priority.
“The City has gone back on its word. Worst of all is that this impacts not only on those at Tent City but also those living on City-owned land in Sea Point.
“There’s understandably an angry group left there now. And the City should be answering.”