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20 Feb 2008 09:03
The Western Cape anti-eviction campaign said about 1 000 people were occupying Delft’s Symphony Road on Wednesday and would remain there until their appeal for housing was lodged in the Supreme Court, hopefully later in the day.
On Monday the Cape High Court turned down their appeal against their removal from unfinished homes in the area and on Tuesday the eviction process began, amid clashes with police.
Police were not immediately available to confirm the blockade, but a campaign statement said the group had spent the night on the road.
“The community has nowhere else to go since all those who occupied the houses in the first place were backyard dwellers with no security of tenure in the backyards they were renting, or homeless,” the statement read.
When ruling against them, Judge Deon van Zyl said he had hoped to hear that the occupants were in lawful occupation of the homes and could not be evicted but this had not been the case.
He said the fact that the allocation processes were not fair did not entitle the unlawful occupiers to take the law into their own hands.
The houses were illegally occupied by people who say they have been on housing waiting lists for years.
Meanwhile, seven people were injured on Tuesday when riot-squad officers fired rubber bullets and stun grenades. The violence erupted as several hundred squatters tried to prevent contractors from loading their scant belongings on to removal trucks.
The operation to remove the 1 600-odd residents started about 6am, said police Superintendent Andre Traut, and by 11am residents were throwing stones at police and staff of the private security firm carrying out the court order.
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