Bromwell Street evictions: last minute reprieve

Resident expresses relief as tomorrow’s eviction postponed

Photo of houses

The houses of 120-128 Bromwell Street. Photo: Rejul Bejoy

By Mary-Anne Gontsana

8 September 2016

Bromwell Street tenants facing eviction have expressed relief at the last-minute reprieve granted today by landlord The Woodstock Hub. The eviction set for tomorrow was postponed to 26 September after Mayor Patricia de Lille intervened.

The houses at 120 to 128 Bromwell Street, Woodstock, were acquired by The Woodstock Hub on 30 October 2013. Tenants, some of whom had lived there for decades, were told on 30 June 2014 to leave within a month. The deadline has since been extended several times until the final deadline of 9 September.

After much campaigning from residents and activist organisation Reclaim the City against the evictions, and meetings with The Woodstock Hub this week, another extension has been granted.

In a statement this afternoon, The Woodstock Hub said the decision to delay the eviction had been taken with Mayor Patricia de Lille’s office. The company said it hoped residents would make use of the funds that had been raised “in order to find suitable alternative accommodation to ensure the safety and security of the families involved”. Last month, Jacques van Embden, director of the Woodstock Hub, proposed crowdfunding to “create a solution to assisting these families in finding residences”.

The extension to 26 September was “a last and final extension”, the company said.

De Lille’s spokesperson, Pierrinne Leukes, said: “Yesterday the Mayor appealed to the Woodstock Hub not to execute the eviction tomorrow. We are working with all the concerned parties including Ndifuna Ukwazi in order to find an amicable solution.”

Bromwell Street spokesperson and resident Charnell Commando said: “We are grateful and thankful to The Hub and the City for this extension. There is now a sense of relief, knowing that we will not be evicted tomorrow or Monday.”

Commando said residents were not insisting on staying in their properties but did not want to move away from the area. They wanted affordable housing in the vicinity, like Salt River, she said.