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80-year-old Woodstock man evicted from his home of 43 years

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Family spends night on the street

Photo of two men
Kenneth Blaine (80, left) and his son Alain spent the night on the street after they were evicted from their home on 29 Plein Street Woodstock on Monday. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks
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A Woodstock family is homeless after they were evicted on Monday morning — without warning they say. They spent the night on the street.

The circumstances leading to the eviction remain unclear. GroundUp has been trying unsuccessfully to get comment from the City of Cape Town since Monday afternoon.

Kenneth Blaine, who is 80 years old, claimed 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.

Blaine has lived in the Plein Street house for 43 years. He says that his son’s family moved in with him after the death of his wife in 2012.

There is an update to this story here.

“I’ve been battling with the City for decades,” he said, standing outside the home among a pile of his family’s possessions.

Blaine is recovering from foot surgery, which makes it difficult for him to walk or stand. His son, Alain, is also recovering, from a motorcycle accident earlier this month.

“We’ve got no idea what we’re going to do tonight,” said Alain Blaine on Monday afternoon. “The shelters say they’re full. We’ve got the stuff to worry about. We’re going to have to sell it all.” In the end they slept on the street. Members of housing activist group Reclaim the City kept them company.

Kenneth Blaine said that a sheriff arrived with two men just after 10am on Monday and showed him a court order for his eviction. They proceeded to move the family’s belongings from the house and into the street.

Representatives from Reclaim the City were the first to respond to the eviction. They helped the Blaines move their belongings from the street and organised them in the front garden.

“When we got there [on Monday] morning, there was furniture and books and things just thrown onto the road,” said Ashura Easton, who works with Reclaim the City.

The property is due to be auctioned at 12pm on Tuesday.

Easton said a person claiming to be from the sheriff’s office warned the family last week of the pending eviction. But despite this, the Blaine family appears to have been taken by surprise.

Kenneth Blaine said that previous evictions in the neighbourhood had come with warnings, but not this one. “We were completely surprised. No warning, nothing.”

Alain Blaine said the family’s rent payments were up-to-date.

GroundUp is continuing to try to get the City’s version of events.

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TOPICS:  Housing

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Write a letter in response to this article

Letters

Dear Editor

Love thy neighbor like you love yourself. These are the first words that enter my mind when I read articles like this. How on earth does the City of Cape Town have the heart to place an 80 year old person on the street, without giving him another option, just so that you can meet financial demands? This is so shocking that I actually have no words....

This man lived in the same house for 43 years and the City just kicked them out. Really sickens me!

If you had the decency to give him alternative and workable options, it would have been acceptable, but this is just too much. On one hand, you give him a government grant and on the other you kick him out of his home. How does this make any sense? And how are you loving your neighbour like you love yourself? You obviously don't love yourself.

I am very grateful for Activist Group 'Reclaim the City' for what they have and are doing. These people actually do have a heart!

Dear Editor

I would like to state that the Democratic Alliance should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this to happen. You are by law not allowed to evict people without rehousing them.

I am particularly upset as this is my family, my father has been living and paying rent every month for the past 43 years, what were you trying to do DA? We voted to keep you in the Cape, but please know I have lost all respect for the DA. I will never again fight for you, and I believe this is the case with the majority of Capetonians.

You are just as bad as the current ruling party of South Africa, trying to line your own pockets.

Absolutely disgraceful!