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Call for moratorium on evictions amid Covid-19 outbreak

More than 20 social justice organisations have called for a moratorium on all evictions across the country. File picture: Dylan Jacobs/African News Agency (ANA)

More than 20 social justice organisations have called for a moratorium on all evictions across the country. File picture: Dylan Jacobs/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 23, 2020

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Cape Town - More than 20 social justice organisations have called for a moratorium on all evictions across the country. An open letter penned by a number of social justice movements and organisations addressed to the president’s National Command Council was sent this past weekend.

Law Centre Ndifuna Ukwazi director Mandisa Shandu said: “Those facing eviction are particularly vulnerable to the health risks posed by Covid-19, when evictions would lead to homelessness. Movements and organisations in the social justice sector urge the state to immediately attend to those who have nowhere else to go, those facing life on the streets, and those living in emergency alternative accommodation in conditions that could foster the spread of Covid-19.

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“One cannot practice physical distancing where you find yourself and your belongings on the side of the road or open space, and exposed to the public with no means of protection” she said.

Among some of the organisations that have supported this call include the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa, Equal Education, Section 27 and the Stellenbosch Backyarders Forum.

Good secretary-general Brett Herron said: “A moratorium on evictions that at least matches the period of the bank repayment holidays should be considered urgently."

In Cape Town 45 evictions took place between December last year and January this year. Last week an eviction was carried out by the City in Zweledinga informal settlement in Khayelitsha where about 40 shacks were demolished.

Mayor Dan Plato however said this was a direct result of residents not willing to work with the City: “Evictions are not very common by us so the call for a moratorium to be placed does not hold much weight. We are fully against evicting residents however we carry it out only when there is no willingness to work with us and make arrangements to pay,” he said.

@MarvinCharles17

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City of Cape Town

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