CoCT approaches court to have illegal Woodstock Hospital occupiers evicted

Ndifuna Ukwazi, through its Reclaim the City campaign, took over the building in 2017 after it was left vacant in a move to secure decent and affordable housing for poor and working-class people.

The old Woodstock Hospital in Cape Town. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/Eyewitness News

WOODSTOCK - The City of Cape Town has approached the courts to assist in removing hundreds of people who have illegally occupied Woodstock Hospital.

Ndifuna Ukwazi, through its Reclaim the City campaign, took over the building in 2017 after it was left vacant in a move to secure decent and affordable housing for poor and working-class people.

The city now wants to develop social housing but the hospital occupants have refused to vacate, saying they have nowhere to go.

READ: Woodstock Hospital occupants refuse to move until alternative housing provided

There are now about 1,400 people living in the old Woodstock Hospital, a building that was once vacant and vandalised.

The city has now approached the Western Cape High Court seeking a court-ordered survey of illegal occupants.

Reclaim the City's Karen Hendricks said that many people living at the hospital were evicted from their homes and could not afford rent.

“One of our aims and objectives of our campaign is so that we can live in an inclusive city.”

Hendricks has welcomed the city's plans for social housing but said it must engage with the organisation.

“We want to engage with the city to work out and formulate alternative solutions so that people will not be left out in the cold again and be evicted peripheral of the city.”

Meanwhile, Mayco member of Housing, Malusi Booi, said that if the people refuse to move, the city would pursue eviction proceedings subject to lockdown regulations and all due processes would be followed.

'CITY HAS FAILED ME'

Faghmeeda Ling is one of the 1,400 residents occupying the old Woodstock Hospital.

She has turned an X-ray section of the facility into a comfortable home for her and her family with a kitchen and lounge area.

Faghmeeda Ling is one of the 1400 residents occupying the old Woodstock hospital. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/Eyewitness News

They settled here after being evicted.

Her message to the city is clear; to be fair and just and not just work for the 'exclusive' but for all.

"Because of gentrification, we had to vacate the only place I knew as home, in Albert Road, Woodstock. The city failed me because it could not offer me alternative accommodation other than a place called Wolwerivrier."

But Booi said they need those occupying the building to vacate.

"We are planning to develop immediately, that's why the engineers have started with their work. We will be making our suggestions before the court."

He said that the city would be working from the housing waiting list for this housing project.

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