Thursday, July 4, 2013

District Six family offered Blikkiesdorp home

Cape Town - The city has told the remaining family living illegally in a District Six apartment complex that they will be provided with a new home in Blikkiesdorp “on humanitarian grounds”.

This follows a ruling, made by Western Cape High Court Judge Robert Henney on June 20, that the city must help find the family of Galeema Stoffels, 70, accommodation because she has grandchildren with her.

Stoffels was part of the Khoi group that on June 15 occupied 11 units in a housing development meant for Group Areas Act returnees, but their action was condemned by the Khoi-san Council, officially recognised by the government.

She is living in one of the units with her daughter Isa Isaacs, who is in her 40s, and Isaacs’s two children, aged 9 and 11.

The rest of the 40-strong group was evicted on June 21.

On June 20, Judge Henney said Stoffels and her family could not be evicted like other group members, and the city should find alternate accommodation for the family.

The trust that manages the apartment complex said “legitimate” claimants had been waiting to move into the units, when they were occupied.

On Monday, Stoffels received a legal letter from the city, informing her that she could move into a “unit” in Delft Symphony Temporary Relocation Area, commonly called Blikkiesdorp on “humanitarian grounds”.

“The city does not believe that it is obliged to provide you with formal housing outside of its normal housing policy and allocations ahead of those lawfully awaiting same,” read the letter.

“(The city) is also not obliged to provide you with emergency accommodation in view of the fact that you broke into the unit at District Six which you occupy. If, however, you and your family are to be genuinely rendered homeless should you be evicted, our client is prepared, on humanitarian grounds, to offer you a unit at (Blikkiesdorp).”

The unit in Blikkiesdorp will be on its own plot, have access to electricity and share flush toilets and water with four other families.

Stoffels said she would refuse to be “relocated” to Blikkiesdorp, but might consider moving elsewhere.

Tania Kleinhans, a spokeswoman for the group that occupied the units, said they were unhappy with the city’s offer.

“(The family of Galeema Stoffels) are aborigines who are being removed from the place of their birth,” she said.

She said the group’s occupation of units in the complex three weeks ago was not about housing, but about bringing attention to the rights of aborigines who should be allowed to live on “ancestral Khoi land”.

Stoffels has been given until Tuesday to accept the offer. This is the date the court will decide if its earlier interim eviction against the group should be finalised.

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