Portswood Road Evictions
In the last week, the media spotlight has fallen on the Portswood Road evictions. For the purpose of clarification, the following process was followed:
Before the eviction order was served, the occupants were given a generous extension to their eviction date. This was in order to give the occupiers sufficient time to arrange alternative accommodation.
The Department, in keeping with the legal process, first undertook a fact finding exercise to obtain all the identities of the occupiers. This included establishing whether there were any individuals with disabilities or any elderly and children. None were at the time of eviction. The Displaced Person Unit (DPU) found that most of the occupiers had gainful employment and were not without means.
The notice of the intended eviction process was then widely distributed in the area. During the hearing at the Magistrate's Court, the occupiers told the Magistrate that they would leave the premises if they were allowed to remain there until the end of December 2009.
Most of the occupants honoured this promise, but new occupiers then moved into the building. The situation became worse with an increase in acts of vandalisation and lawlessness.
There are now a number of people and their belongings on the pavement outside of the premises. After giving these citizens an extra week to move, the City is giving 24 hours notice before removing them from the pavement. This is in keeping with the City's bylaws to prevent public obstruction of pavements and maintain public safety.
The City will provide transport to evicted citizens free of charge to a legal abode of their choosing if they do not have transportation, and the Province will store the belongings of the evicted citizens for up to 30 days if necessary.
The provincial and city government reaffirms its commitment to treat all people with dignity, compassion and fairness.
Minister of Transport and Public Works
Media Liaison Officer
Ministry of Transport and Public Works
Western Cape Provincial Government
Cell: 083 641 9691
Tel: 021 483 8954