Hope for Bromwell residents

The legal team representing the Bromwell Street residents who face eviction has uncovered fresh information which could strengthen their case.

Last week, the Western Cape High Court was told by senior counsel Norman Arendse that the information related to non-compliance of government with the environmental authorisation for the construction of Wolwerivier, the place where the City of Cape Town wants to provide temporary accommodation for the affected residents.

The court was set to hear an application for the recusal of Acting Judge Leslie Weinkove from presiding over the Bromwell Street matter on Thursday May 18.

However, the matter was postponed to August 3 and 4.

On the same days the court will also hear the matter pertaining to transport and other amenities at Wolwerivier, which form part of the main case in which the residents seek a court order declaring that the City had a constitutional obligation to provide them with emergency accommodation in an area as near as feasibly possible to their current homes.

The City had proposed that the affected families be relocated and housed at Wolwerivier relocation camp, some 28km north of the inner city.

The residents have argued that the City has not demonstrated that it has acted reasonably in implementing its emergency housing policy.

They have also claimed that the City had not meaningfully engaged with them regarding the provision of emergency accommodation and that it had made its offer of Wolwerivier without due consideration of the impact that such a relocation would have on them.

The case brings to the open the crisis of eviction and displacement of people in formerly working-class suburbs around the inner city.

The Bromwell residents have argued that conditions in relocation camps, such as the one at Wolwerivier, were “inhumane”.

They have argued that isolation from work opportunities, schooling, health care and other amenities condemned residents to unemployment, crippling poverty and to become victims of violent crime and substance abuse.

In hearing the matter, Acting Judge Weinkove made a number of remarks which the residents regarded as offensive. As a result, they have asked that he recuse himself from the case.

They have argued that he indirectly referred to them as “squatters” in the homes in which they have resided for decades. He also questioned the need for unemployed persons to be near schools and transport.

The City and the Woodstock Hub, respondents in this matter, are opposing the recusal application – Weekend Argus

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