CT temporary emergency housing programme 'replicates spatial apartheid': NPO

The activist organisation, Ndifuna Ukwazi, was responding to a Supreme Court of Appeal judgment that set aside a high court ruling that declared the programme unconstitutional.

FILE: Bromwell street residents are demanding emergency housing close to the Cape Town city centre. Picture: Monique Mortlock/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Activist organisation Ndifuna Ukwazi said that it still believed the City of Cape Town's temporary emergency housing programme was unjust and backwards.

Ndifuna Ukwazi was responding to a Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgement that ruled in favour of the city's appeal in the Bromwell Street matter and dismissed the 2021 high court ruling that declared its housing programme unconstitutional.

Bromwell Street occupiers in Woodstock demanded temporary emergency housing in Salt River and the inner city when they were being evicted from their cottages in 2013.

READ: Bromwell Street residents look to Supreme Court of Appeal for shelter solution

The families rejected the city’s offer to relocate them to an informal settlement in Philippi, citing the long distance to their places of work and to where their children go to school.

The SCA ruled that the city had an obligation to treat those being evicted with dignity and care, taking into consideration their socio-economic conditions.

The appeals court gave the city until the end of May to provide them with temporary accommodation.

Ndifuna Ukwazi lawyer Disha Govender said they believed the city's emergency housing programme continued to be slanted against poor people.

“It replicates spatial apartheid and in the context of the state's failure to meaningfully deliver affordable housing, check exorbitant rentals, and properly plan for emergency situations."

The city said that it would, now, check the number of remaining occupants at Bromwell Street before further engagements on alternative emergency accommodation.