Stand off between Old Mutual and Khayelitsha occupiers

1 day 5 hours ago
Residents were removed but returned almost immediately

By Vincent Lali

Photo of Old Mutual property in Khayelitsha
Evicted residents from a block of flats and bungalows in Khayelitsha owned by Old Mutual reoccupy the building. Photo: Vincent Lali

Twenty-five people who occupied an Old Mutual property, and were then evicted, have got most of their possessions back. But they claim that some of their goods are damaged or missing. They have reoccupied the building.

A leader of the group in Thembokhwezi, Khayelitsha, said they got their seized possessions back from a depot in Blackheath on Friday.

They illegally occupied the property on 16 June and were evicted on 30 July by Red Ants and police. Most of the occupants were backyard dwellers in the area. The property has been vacant since Equal Education moved its offices from there in 2016. Old Mutual intends to build “289 units and amenities such as a crèche or church, a school and a public open space” on the property, according to its spokesperson Jenna Wilson.

Neli Bomvana, a leader of the occupiers, said a fridge belonging to one occupier is broken. Another occupier could not find a digital camera that was confiscated, and another could not get their shoes back.

“We discovered that Old Mutual didn’t have a list of the things it seized. Our advocate has asked us to draw up a list of the things we could not get back and he would approach Old Mutual,” said Bomvana.

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Owner breaks down house under tenants’ feet

6 days 6 hours ago
Woodstock property stripped before eviction hearing starts

By Barbara Maregele

Photo of woman in broken doorway
Nicole Puterson and other residents are fighting to stay in the house where some of them have lived for more than 30 years. Photo: Barbara Maregele

Three Woodstock families are battling in court to be allowed to stay in a house where some of them have lived for more than 30 years.

Shariff Alexander, his girlfriend Nicole Puterson, and their one-year-old live in one room of 23 Gympie Street. They share the three-roomed property with eight other people, including children. Alexander moved in with his grandmother, who is the primary tenant, in 1980.

“My family has lived here for over 30 years. This is why I’m trying my best to fight for this place,” he said.

Alexander told GroundUp that residents’ troubles started a few months ago when the property was sold after the death of the owner. He said that since January, the occupants had been harassed by police. A resident, who lived in the lounge, had been forced off the premises when the new owner began renovating the space.

On Monday, Pilland Property Investments – the estate agents handling the sale of the house – brought an application in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court to evict the three families. The families, represented by Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre attorney Jonathan Cogger, are opposing the eviction.

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