The City of Cape Town is conducting feasibility studies for development at the Woodstock Hospital site and has officially dedicated teams to addressing the illegal occupancy currently taking place there. The move to occupy the hospital, which began in 2017, was organised by a social movement called Reclaim the City. Since then, the number of illegal occupants in the hospital has dramatically increased and over 900 occupants are now expected to be removed from the site.
Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Malusi Booi says that the City is looking at options to develop the site more appropriately.
“For you to develop a site, you need to consider a number of things, including the safety of occupants and their health,” he said.
Booi indicated that the City has already mobilised engineers to conduct feasibility studies and that development will be conducted based on their findings. He added that the income brackets of the occupants will be investigated and that the occupants of the site would qualify for different levels of assistance from the City, according to their brackets.
“One of the intentions we have is to develop that site and we have our engineers who are doing feasibility studies and assessments. They will give us feedback on how we can best develop that particular site.”
“One of the things we’ll also be doing in the next few weeks is to send a team to the site to assess people individually and as families – checking which [income] brackets they belong to.”
According to Booi, the City offers assistance in the housing department and people qualify for different levels of support based on their income.
The City also insists that characterising the process as “eviction” is not an accurate reflection of what is transpiring.
“The most important thing for us is to look at the options that will enable us to develop that particular site,” said Booi.
“Eviction is not the best way of describing the situation. We want to do an assessment and it’ll be done in the next few weeks. Once we get our report, we will look at options on how to deal with the situation and what will happen to individuals who have illegally occupied that building.”
Reclaim the City was not available for comment.