Housing and community activists led by Reclaim The City disrupted a property auction in Mouille Point on Tuesday to protest against the eviction of 80-year-old Kenneth Blaine and his family.
The protesters and the Blaine family claim that they were given no prior notice of their eviction and no alternative housing for the night, forcing them to sleep on the street.
As the auction on the Woodstock property was about to start, more than a dozen activists interrupted the auction with singing and chants of “No auction!” The protesters argued with auctioneer Andrew Koch for more than an hour before the event was officially cancelled.
Koch is the Executive Director of Claremart, which has a contract with the City of Cape Town to sell its properties.
Koch announced just before the auction began that the Plein Street property had been illegally occupied, and that all legal processes had been followed to accommodate the residents.
“The [City] council jumped through all the necessary hoops and gave the people more than adequate time,” said Koch.
“Evictions that lead to homelessness are illegal and unconstitutional,” said Nkosikhona Swaartbooi, a member of housing activist group Reclaim the City. “Where was the alternative housing for this man and his family?”
City of Cape Town spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo said that the City has been engaging with the occupants since 2014 and has followed all due processes. “A notice was served on the occupants in July 2019. Numerous extensions were granted to the occupants since 2014 to vacate the property and they were granted adequate time to find alternative accommodation.”
“The family has today [18 September] reoccupied the property, illegally,” said Tyhalibongo. “The City is reviewing its position.”
Kenneth Blaine, claims the house’s deed was in his deceased mother’s name and that he has been trying to take ownership of the property since 1981.
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