Case on Wynberg evictions in High Court
Saturday 16 April 2005 by Dale
1000 RESIDENTS WHO HAVE BEEN LIVING IN DISUSED FACTORY BUILDINGS IN WYNBERG (NEXT TO ALEXANDRA) FOR OVER A DECADE ARE FACING IMMINENT AND ILLEGAL EVICTION SO THAT A DEVELOPER CAN BUILD A SHOPPING CENTRE
INTERDICT SOUGHT BY DEVELOPER (SUPPORTED BY LOCAL ANC AND PROVINCIAL DEPT. OF HOUSING) TO BE OPPOSSED IN JOHANNESBURG HIGH COURT ON TUESDAY 20TH APRIL @ 10H00
Over 1000 poor residents who have been living in disused factory buildings in Wynberg - some for almost 20 years - are facing imminent eviction by Alexandra Plaza PTY (Ltd.), a developer that wants to erect a shopping centre. The developer is being supported by the local ANC councillor - Leslie Khumalo - who has submitted a supporting affidavit for the High Court eviction interdict, despite repeated pledges to the residents that the ANC would oppose their eviction. Officials in the Provincial Department of Housing have warned the residents not to be “arrogant” about their eviction and have refused to find alternative accomodation (as required by law), telling them that, “there are no houses” and that the best the Department can do is to provide them with “three pieces of zinc to build somewhere”.
As has now seemingly become the norm in South Africa, what we are witnessing here is poor people being treated as sub-humans and effective non-citizens as a result of the greed of private developers, with the active connivance of an uncaring state and opportunistic local ANC councillors. The impoverished Wynberg residents facing eviction have, under extremely difficult circumstances over many years, made these buildings their homes and have gone about building their families and lives around this community. Their eviction threatens to tear apart all that they have built.
Why must the 1000 people in Wynberg, just because they are poor and vulnerable, be treated like this? At a time when many are celebrating South Africa’s ‘good times’ and congratulating themselves on ‘delivery’, there are many (like the Wynberg community) who are facing a bleak future. The APF and the Freedom of Expression Institute (through Attorney Simon Delaney who will be appearing for the residents) are struggling with the residents so that they can realise their most basic needs and rights.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION/COMMENT CONTACT: Simon Delaney on 083 397-0057 or Dale McKinley on 072 429-4086