Social housing development at the Woodstock Hospital has been postponed to April 2021 due to the City’s application for a court-ordered survey of illegal occupants at the site.
According to a statement made by Malusi Booi, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, a few of the illegal occupants and legal advisors – Ndifuna Ukwazi and Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) – initially missed the 19 February 2021 High Court deadline to file an intention to oppose the City’s request for a survey.
“A court-ordered survey is needed to determine the number of illegal occupants, their identities, monthly income, eligibility for State-subsidised housing, and willingness to vacate the property so that social housing plans are not further delayed,” read Booi’s statement.
“Only lawful and constitutional means can be used to allocate the estimated 700 social housing units the City intends to build at Woodstock Hospital, and development cannot begin until the illegal occupants vacate the site.”
Booi hopes for the people to move voluntarily. However, if push comes to shove, he says that the City would have to pursue eviction proceedings subject to lockdown regulations.
He also added that before yesterday’s court sitting, the respondents filed an affidavit stating that the personal information needed to complete the survey did not align with the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act.
[UPDATE 1/2] Today @CityofCT asked the High Court to grant an order allowing it to conduct a survey of almost 900 occupiers that call Cissie Gool House home – without allowing us the opportunity to oppose. #HomeIsTheFrontline #NoEvictions pic.twitter.com/mVqxfEjx6t
— Reclaim the City (@ReclaimCT) February 26, 2021
Booi responded to the affidavit saying, “This claim is completely without merit and the City will file an affidavit with the court to this effect.”
Booi too deemed the matter as “urgent”, as the City needs to “proceed with social housing building plan submissions within a short timeframe due to favourable zoning and rights on the property subject to any heritage requirements.”
He also stated, “The surrounding community also deserves an urgent end to the constant breach of the City’s by-laws and other crime at the Woodstock Hospital site, which has necessitated an increased law enforcement presence and security measures.”
“The City goes to great lengths to protect land earmarked for the development goals of Cape Town and cannot afford to have groupings in society who promote illegal occupation of land and buildings or coordinate the invasion thereof in attempts to control housing allocation outside of the law,” said Booi.
The organisation, Reclaim the City, stated that The City & the occupiers agreed to postpone the case until 22 April 2021.