Six ’Plain families face eviction from council homes

Tafelsig ward councillors Norman Adonis and Washiela Harris.

Mitchell’s Plain Sub-council 12 has welcomed the possible eviction of six households, who have been identified as unlawful occupants of council-owned units.

One of the six dwellings, in Clairwood Street, Beacon Valley, is occupied by an alleged gangster. An eviction order has been issued and the occupants have until Thursday June 30 to vacate the dwelling.

The City of Cape Town’s public housing tenancy management branch presentation, dated June 1, which was tabled in both Sub-council 12 and 17 monthly meetings last week, reported that there were 400 rental units in Mitchell’s Plain.

An unlawful occupant is a person who in relation to the City’s rental housing stock, is not a family member listed on the City’s tenant family form and who has moved into a vacant dwelling without the City’s authorisation; has forced the tenant out of his or her dwelling; and has been left behind by a vacating tenant or when the tenant died.

The City urges residents who have been identified as being in unlawful occupation of a council unit to visit their local housing office with the requested documentation in order for them to be considered for normalisation.

To be legal tenants, qualifying applicants must:

  • be registered on the City’s housing needs register;
  • have a monthly household income of less than R15 000;
  • must personally occupy the premises;
  • not be property owners, and neither must their spouse or partner be;
  • have no proven record of anti-social behaviour; and
  • have been living with the tenant for an unbroken period of at least two years before the death of the tenant, tenant vacating or relinquishing the tenancy.

Linda Jones, Mitchell’s Plain area co-ordinator for unlawful occupations, said there were more than six households facing possible eviction, depending on the the occupants’ response to the notices.

Sub-council 12 chairman Solomon Philander said once the unlawful occupant was evicted, someone from the housing waiting list could be allocated a home.

“The wait would be over for those who have been on the housing waiting list for years,” he said.

He said eviction orders were only granted by a court of law and that the sheriff of the court was instructed by a magistrate to execute an eviction order.

Tafelsig ward councillor Washiela Harris said the community was taking councillors to task because of criminal activities at these council-owned properties.

“We are being crucified about the unlawful activities, drugs being sold out of the house,” she said.

The City’s human settlements portfolio committee earlier this year resolved that the matter of unlawful occupation be introduced at sub-council level so that similar matters could be reported on for further action to be taken.

“The unlawful occupation of the public rental units is one of the biggest challenges facing the City as a landlord,” read the report.

The portfolio committee also resolved that quarterly reports would be submitted by the City’s public housing branch detailing the progress made in dealing with the backlog of 1 113 City-wide reported cases at various stages of action, which was in the last submitted report in April.

Mitchell’s Plain United Residents’ Association (MURA) deputy chairman Michael Jacobs called on the City to deal sensitively with the families, asking that each case be taken on its merit and that blanket eviction be avoided.

“They should liaise with and include community members to broker some understanding between the City and the tenants so as to not inflame a volatile situation about housing,” he said.

Mr Jacobs said in many cases relatives were living in the rental unit after their loved ones had died.

He also said that the local police station should be included in clearing a rental unit of an alleged gangster or criminal.

“This would mean that two processes can run concurrently; they can be evicted and can be charged, investigated in terms of POCA (Proceeds of Crime Act) and the proceeds can be confiscated,” he said.

For more information call the City’s Human Settlements Directorate call centre on 021 444 0333 or send a message via WhatsApp to 063 299 9927.

The housing offices are open weekdays from 8am to 3pm.

Green teams keep their area clean.

MURP funding allocation split

Sub-council 12 also resolved that R2 million in Mayoral Urban Regeneration Programme (MURP) funding, allocated to the five wards 35, 76, 82, 92 and 116, would be split – R500 000 to help youth get their learner driver’s licence and – R1.5 million for greener jobs, which includes the training of a team in each ward regarding waste management and greening their community.

Local tourist attraction

Ms Harris also tabled a motion for Wolfgat Nature Reserve to be listed as a tourist attraction and to allow for more community involvement.

“I would also like the facility to be kept up to standard with other reserves where there are museums etc,” she said.

She asked that a safety plan be established in partnership with the community and leadership; and that feedback on the progress of a museum at the reserve be provided to Sub-council 12.

Wolfgat Nature Reserve was declared a reserve in 1986. It spans more than 261 hectares of coastal limestone cliffs, along Baden Powell Drive and comprising Cape Flats Dune Strandveld vegetation and covers more than 150 different plant species.

Ms Harris said that the reserve was underutilised and had become a “white elephant” within the ward.

“The reserve is not reaching its full potential as more programmes can be held at the venue as well as educational activity whereby children can be kept off the streets and away from drugs and other social ills,” read the motion.

Norman Adonis, Tafelsig councillor on the other side of AZ Berman Drive, supported the motion and said it would be good for the community.