Housing advocacy group slams heavy-handed raid at Cissie Gool House

During the early hours of Monday morning, residents in the former Woodstock hospital, now Cissie Gool House, awoke to the sound of police bashing down doors to execute a search warrant.

Police van. Picture: Winnie Theletsane/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town, law enforcement and police have been slammed for a heavy-handed raid on a group of indigent residents.

During the early hours of Monday morning, residents in the former Woodstock hospital, now Cissie Gool House, awoke to the sound of police bashing down doors to execute a search warrant.

Dozens of armed police officers could be seen using armoured vans, horses and a helicopter for the joint operation.

But of over 1000 estimated residents, only 2 people were arrested on drug possession charges.
The raid took place just 3 days after residents were left shaken by a fire that destroyed part of the building and several homes.

Housing Advocacy group, Ndifuna Ukwazi's Buhle Booi, said the heartless move has left hundreds of families even more traumatized.

" You can imagine that a raid in itself conducted in that manner leaves people in a traumatic state. It is a form of intimidation against the people who are staying there and the constant intimidation which has left families distraught especially after having been subjected to a disaster of a fire".

In addition to the 2 drug arrests - 5 other people were arrested for immigration infringements - a move Ndifuna Ukwazi has questioned given the warrant was not meant to address immigration issues.
Despite numerous requests, neither the City nor police have provided a copy of the warrant or explained why immigration officials were part of the raid.

Booi said the criminalization of poverty on this community will have far-reaching consequences.
" One situation is that of a mother, a mother that was arrested for living there she has an infant, and she has had to breastfeed her infant from the cells at the police station, so you can imagine what a traumatic experience that is for the mother and the for the child".