Housing activists from Reclaim the City and Ndifuna Ukwazi blocked the doorway of Carmina Vieira’s Roodebloem Street home on Tuesday October 24 as the deputy sheriff of the court tried to evict her.
According to Reclaim the City, the sheriff had tried to carry some of Ms Vieira’s possessions out of the house and eventually called the police.
The members pleaded with the officer to allow Ms Vieira, who has been staying in her home for 26 years, to be left alone, saying that she has nowhere else to go.
Silence fell on those who stood with Ms Vieira while she explained how the eviction has affected her and her two children over the past few months.
“I got two kids, my daughter is at UCT studying land surveying and she’s been affected by this because she’s been failing her exams. My son works as a graphic designer, he doesn’t know what’s happening. I don’t know how to tell him because he gets very nerved up.
“I’ve been packing but the sheriff was already here this morning throwing my stuff out, but then this people from Reclaim the City came and they started singing for me and I don’t know what’s happened. He’s left. I don’t know if he’s going to come back, because I have nowhere to go. I’m homeless if I leave here,” said Ms Vieira.
The sheriff arrived before 10am and the activists refused to leave. A SAPS officer also arrived later and tried to mediate, but the Reclaim the City activists continued with their sit-in, until he left.
Ms Vieira’s passageway and rooms are filled with boxes and bags with belongings she has packed up.
She said that she went to court in July after receiving an eviction notice for October 11, but she said that she was not served with any papers for the eviction.
“I’ve been living here for 26 years, as you can see (the landlord) has never renovated anything in this place. He cut my water for two years. I only owe him R10 500 and yet he wants to evict me and my family onto the street and I have nowhere to go,” said Ms Vieira.
“This happens all the time, the City is trying to push out poor people from the city. You can’t just evict someone and not give them an alternative. The City has a responsibility to the people,” said Reclaim the City supporter and Hout Bay resident, Sphesihle Makhathini.
“When someone doesn’t have a formal job, basically a poor person gets kicked out to the streets, it’s unjust, the city and the landlord or a combination of the two need to come up with a plan for her because she has a family and it’s not right for her to be kicked out,” he said.
Reclaim the City supporter Jennifer Williams agreed with Mr Makhathini and said that alternative accommodation needs to be sought before Ms Vieira is removed.
“If it goes to court, we’re also at court. She said the guys want to renovate the building, but they can put her in a place while they renovate and bring her back. To put her things out in front of the place is not right. What will the kids think when they come from school or her husband when he comes from sea,” she said.
The Tatler was unable to contact the landlord for comment.