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The eviction at Bill Peters Tent City: “The City of Cape Town and law enforcement have an anti-poor and criminalising approach toward homelessness”

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By Kouthar Sambo

The eviction at Bill Peters Tent City commenced on Thursday, following an almost two-year legal process.

“During this period, Law Enforcement displaced people unit and the City’s social development officials engaged the illegal occupants on multiple occasions to offer them alternative accommodation. These offers of alternative accommodation are continuing today,” the City confirmed in a statement.

The Sheriff and the South African Police Service (SAPS) are leading the eviction, said the City, and City enforcement are supporting their efforts while waste management is cleansing the area.

“There is a Law Enforcement deployment plan in place to secure the property and ensure the property does not get occupied again post-eviction, and fire services were on the scene due to a structure that was set on fire by one of the occupants,” declared the City.

Meanwhile, Reclaim the City Woodstock chapter leader Karen Hendricks, told VOC News that the biggest challenge relating to housing access is that it is ongoing, especially in Cape Town, which is a city characterised by a housing affordability crisis.

“This has left many households across our city unable to access formal housing opportunities. The current housing backlog is estimated to be around 350,000 units, resulting in residents being pushed towards self-provisioning housing in informal settlements, in backyard dwellings, and more recently, occupied vacant buildings,” explained Hendricks.

According to Hendricks, Cape Town has an estimated 14,000 people living in chronic homelessness or living on the streets.

“The City of Cape Town and law enforcement have an anti-poor and criminalising approach toward homelessness, and they continue to use their by-laws and evictions to further displace people.”

“The City need to unlock land to build housing so that people can access the city, jobs, hospitals, schools, and much more. The only alternative is to place people in shelters for a period of six months instead of working towards a long-term solution,” reiterated Hendricks.

Photo: Pixabay

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