Cape Town - Ten months after being served an eviction notice from the Woodstock home she has lived in for more than 20 years, Kashiefa Watson and 13 other families are being forced to leave.
But they have nowhere to go and have turned to the City of Cape Town to intervene and provide them with accommodation close to the CBD.
The families, some of whom were born in the area, or were moved from District Six under the Group Areas Act, have slammed the eviction as “racism in reverse”, reports the Weekend Argus.
“They don’t want us here. The owner claims he wants to renovate the building yet he wants to sell it to developers who, even if they build flats, the possibility of them being expensive is high,” says Faghmeeda Ling.
“They want to keep the area a rich man’s playground.”
The building in Albert Street which has been home to Ling for 50 years, is in dire need of repair. Residents share two outside communal toilets and one tap.
“We are fighting the eviction. We don’t want to end up in Wolwerivier or Blikkiesdorp. It is our constitutional and democratic right to receive proper housing,” adds Delia Fillies, 65.
The residents said they had a verbal agreement with the landlord that they would spend their rent on fixing up the building. However, electricity and water bills had run into thousands of rand, despite their rent allegedly covering these services.
Raelene Arendse, the City of Cape Town’s acting Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services and energy, said the City was liaising with Legal Aid regarding the residents’ pleas for alternative accommodation.
The fate of the Albert Street, Woodstock residents will be decided in court and the case is to resume on Thursday.