The City of Cape Town has evicted 80-year-old Kenneth Blaine, centre, along with his family members, from the Woodstock home he has lived in for 43 years. Pictured from left to right are family friend Elliot Pires, Jo-Ann Blaine, Kenneth Blaine, or Uncle Kenny as he is affectionately known, Keanu Blaine, and Alain Blaine. Photo: David Ritchie / African News Agency (ANA)
The City of Cape Town has evicted 80-year-old Kenneth Blaine, centre, along with his family members, from the Woodstock home he has lived in for 43 years. Pictured from left to right are family friend Elliot Pires, Jo-Ann Blaine, Kenneth Blaine, or Uncle Kenny as he is affectionately known, Keanu Blaine, and Alain Blaine. Photo: David Ritchie / African News Agency (ANA)

Tale of two cities: Property costs soar as the poor get evicted or houses demolished

By Chevon Booysen Time of article published Sep 18, 2019

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Cape Town – In yet another tale of two cities, the cost of property in the Cape Town CBD has reached unprecedented levels, a new study has shown, as housing woes have worsened for some of the metro’s poorest residents.

The CBD is largely white, the poorest almost exclusively black African and coloured. In Woodstock, 80-year-old Kenneth Blaine and his family spent Monday night destitute after they were evicted from the home they had lived in for 43 years. 

This while in Hout Bay residents yesterday protested the City's decision to use land for a depot instead of for affordable housing in the overcrowded and poor coloured part of the seaside area with some of South Africa's most expensive real estate, white-owned, alongside.

As "A Year in Review" by the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) - released yesterday - showed, new property developments in the City were worth in excess of R950 million, and 39 new developments worth in excess of R13.5 billion were either recently completed, under construction or in the pipeline, housing activists disrupted an auction of Blaine's house.

Activist group Reclaim the City's Woodstock spokesperson, Faghmeeda Ling, said the City had told the family only on Monday that the house was on the auction list.

“On Monday afternoon the sheriff arrived at 29 Plein Street in Woodstock and moved Uncle Kenny Blaine, his family, and all their belongings on to the street. 

"Kenny had lived in the house for over 40 years. Reclaim the City members, many of whom have themselves been evicted, sat with him on the pavement the whole night to keep him company and help him protect his few belongings from thieves,” said Ling.

According to the CCID report, property in the Central City had soared by nearly 40%, from R30.628bn in 2016/17 to R42.860bn in 2018/19.

An additional six new developments worth in excess of R968m have been reported this year thus far, report researcher and economic research analyst Sandra Gordon found.

Blaine said yesterday that the house's deed was in his deceased mother's name, and that he has been trying to take ownership of the property since 1981. The family said the rent payments

were up to date. 

“It is really sad that the City

does not care about poor people.

We sat with Uncle Kenny the whole

night on Monday, we tried to go to

homes but they said they were full. 

"If the City of Cape Town wishes to

evict Uncle Kenny then they must

ensure he will not be made homeless

and if necessary provide him with

emergency housing. Nobody should

be sent to a relocation camp,” Ling

said. 

City spokesperson Luthando

Tyhalibongo said the City had

been engaging with the occupants

since 2014 and had followed due

processes.

“A notice was served on the

occupants in July 2019. 

Numerous

extensions were granted to the

occupants since 2014 to vacate the

property and they were granted

adequate time to find alternative

accommodation. 

The family has

today reoccupied the property,

illegally. The City is reviewing its

position,” he said. 

Cape Town mayor Dan Plato, in

responding to a question on the high

cost of property in the CBD, taking

into consideration most locals can’t

afford to buy property in the CBD,

as well as responding to a request

for comment on how this impacts

affordable development in the CBD,

said: “In the challenging economic

times being experienced across South

Africa, we have managed to retain

the lowest unemployment levels in

the country. 

"The value of property is

one of the indications of the health

of an economy, and with a healthy

economy more job opportunities are

created for our residents. 

“In addition to our housing

policy that aims to link communities

with transport and business hubs, we

also have a number of low-cost and

social housing programmes in and

close to the city to make sure that we

foster an inclusive society that can

benefit from our growing economy.”

Cape Times

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