Illegal residents get evicted from Delft in Cape Town
By Ilhaam Hoosain
21 December 2007
Cape Town City Councillor Frank Martin appeared in the Bellville Magistrate's Court on Friday on charges of fraud, enticing riots and violating a court order.
Martin was arrested on Thursday, while leading hundreds of backyard dwellers, who illegally occupied the N2 Gateway houses in Delft.
Earlier this week he demanded that the houses are handed over to the angry Delft residents. According to Thubelisha Homes Xhandi Sigcawu, Councillor Martin wrote letters to the beneficiary indicating to them that he is giving the people permission to occupy houses.
Sigcawu said that Martin does not have the right to give anyone permission to occupy houses.
Sigcawu explains the process that should take place.
“The process is you have a waiting list and a committee that looks at the allocation. The committee that comprise of officials from the City of Cape Town, the local government and housing department in the Western Cape and officials from the National Department of Housing. Thubelisha will then be given a list of names of people that should be moved to houses.”
He goes on to say that for councilor Martin to act in the manner in which he did, is totally uncalled for. He is now inviting people to move to houses illegally.
“They can’t refuse to leave the houses; those houses do not belong to them. We are law abiding citizens and no one is above the law. Whoever takes the law into their own hands has to face the music,” says Sigcawu.
City of Cape Town spokesperson Dan Plato says the sheriff with the assistance of the police, metro police and a private security company moved in to the sight and started to evict the people.
“They are busy evicting the illegal people out of the houses. This means more than 1000 people have to be evicted out of the houses.
“Literally hundreds and hundreds of people, moved in with cars, with bakkies, with combis. Furniture was mounted on top of cars and so on. Each and every structure they could see or lay claim of, they just took possession of that. In the end my warning to them were: if you give up you shelter now and it is not your chance to get your house, your can not then come and lay the blame solely in front of government,” says Plato.
Speaker of the Council Dirk Smit said that he received the complaints from Thebulisha Homes with allegations against Frank Martin he said that he is investigating and has given the councillor the opportunity to reply. Smit replies to the question: Will Frank Martin be suspended?
“The Speaker cannot suspend him. What will happen is we will have an investigation and if necessary it will be referred to the Disciplinary Committee. The Disciplinary Committee will then make a recommendation to Council, whatever their findings might be, if we go that far. Then the council will make a recommendation to the Minister. If we go that far, whatever the situation is and what is coming out of the investigation I am not making sure at this point in time,” says Smit.
The people say they've been on waiting lists for years. City officials say the delivery of 500 units by December 14, had to be delayed for various reasons. They repeated warnings that illegal occupants would face the full consequences of the law. Councillor Martin’s case has been postponed until next year the 25 April.
Councillor Martin could not be reached for comment.