Fewer than 10 familes remain in Woodstock’s Bromwell Street. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
Fewer than 10 familes remain in Woodstock’s Bromwell Street. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Bromwell residents still in limbo

By ASANDA SOKANYILE Time of article published Jul 13, 2019

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Cape Town - Three years on and residents of Bromwell Street are still in limbo over what is to become of their homes.

One of the oldest residents in the Woodstock street, Brenda Smith, 78, said she had been born there and recalled a “peaceful and quiet” neighbourhood. She said she would be happy to be moved to a “decent, quiet area close to the city” to help her get to the hospital without difficulty. She was unhappy with the alternative accommodation provided by the City of Cape Town in Delft, saying it was not “safe and too far”.

Smith would love to “die in the home where she was born”, like her mother, who she said died at the age of 93 in their home. Smith lives with her children and grandchildren at number 128 Bromwell. The 14-member family are waiting for the City of Cape Town to inform them about plans to have them moved. Smith is partially blind in one eye and has a cataract in the other, often has to visit the hospital and sometimes walks alone.

She said being moved to Delft or Wolwerivier would mean changing hospitals or travelling long distances.

Charnell Commando, 34, spokeswoman for the Bromwell residents, said this week although they were willing to be moved to social housing they would only accept being moved to properties close by.

“The City wanted to move us to Wolwerivier and we took it upon ourselves to go and check this place out. We wouldn’t even wish the people living on the streets to live there. It is far from everything. There are no amenities, no transport, no jobs and no schools.”

Commando said: “The people who live there are unemployed and crime is high. There are no street lights and people get raped all the time at night because it is so dark. Our children are used to walking to school; there they would need to wake up at 5am to catch something to get to school and if they miss that, then they would not be able to go.”

The city’s mayoral committee member for human settlements Malusi Booi said the matter was not before the Western Cape High Court as “the residents of the Bromwell Street properties applied to court for the amendment of the relief which they are seeking. The court granted the application and the residents proceeded to amend their papers. The City now needs to file its replying affidavit in response to the amended papers of the residents, where after the residents will have the opportunity to respond to the City’s replying affidavit. The matter will be placed on the roll for hearing once both parties have filed their papers at court”.

Booi said the families would “need to meet the social housing criteria if they’d like to be considered for such opportunities”.

In 2016 the residents of 120-128 Bromwell Street were given until July 31 to vacate their homes. There are now fewer than 10 families left of the 20 who The Hub in Woodstock had been trying to evict since then.

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