/ 2 January 2008

Court to rule on N2 Gateway eviction

More than 100 backyard dwellers from Delft and other areas of Cape Town will return to the Cape High Court on Thursday to contest their eviction from a government housing scheme.

They occupied the N2 Gateway houses before Christmas and were granted a stay of eviction by the court.

On Thursday the court will make a final decision about their eviction.

On Wednesday, the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign said the backyard dwellers claimed that the order through which the Cape Town city council and Thubelisha Homes tried to evict them was invalid and therefore the evictions were illegal.

”They want to stop the evictions altogether,” said a campaign statement.

They claim the occupation of the N2 Gateway Delft houses took place after Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu gave former Joe Slovo residents keys to the gateway projects. The campaign said she ignored that 30% of them had been promised to Delft backyarders.

Just before Christmas Eve, Judge Deon Van Zyl made an order in chambers granting the temporary stay of eviction.

The application for an urgent interdict was brought on behalf of the families by the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign.

It was sought on the grounds that the evictions were being carried out illegally on the basis of an eviction order granted to the City of Cape Town in October last year, against other people.

Last week, ward councillor for the Delft area Frank Martin said people in backyard rooms, overcrowded homes or shacks in the Delft and Belhar areas had been on council waiting lists for an average of 25 years.

”We’re sitting with elderly people, ages that range from 60 up until 83 years of age,” he said.

Cassiem said about 700 families were represented in the application.

The backyarders and other communities plan to march in central Cape Town on Thursday.

The Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign said they also planned to sue the relevant authorities for damages for the ”illegal evictions”.

The high court earlier this month reserved judgement on a bid by the Joe Slovo residents themselves to block their own looming forced removal to Delft. — Sapa