Cape Town magistrate to decide group’s eviction from city lands on June 28


Through Mwangi Githahu 51 min ago

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Cape Town – A group of people calling themselves the Willow Arts Collective and living on the grounds where the former SA National Circus School was located, next to Hartleyvale Stadium in the Observatory, will have to wait until June 28 to hear their fate in their case against the city.

During the hearing in the Cape Town Court of First Instance, Willow Arts Collective attorney Zeynab Titus argued for a request to strike the city’s housing report for the land as it was listed in the file in the City’s Affidavit of Response rather than in the Founding Affidavit.

Titus also argued that the housing report was also drafted without proper engagement with the people occupying the land and that the City did not survey the occupants as residents of the property to probe their personal circumstances.

Titus said the magistrate decided to strike the report and therefore the city would have no arguments to make.

In a previous hearing, Magistrate Reaz Khan ordered the city for the third time to engage meaningfully with the group in an effort to find common ground.

The Willow Arts Collective is fighting the city’s deportation request before the Cape Town Court of First Instance. Photo: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)

Outside the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court, two members of the Willow Arts Collective, dressed as clowns, argued that the city’s decision to evict them from the land was shortsighted as the land should be used for profit. community rather than promoters.

One of the members of the John Brophy Collective, also known as Evl Jon, said the group lived on the disputed lands promoting organic farming and outdoor recreation.

“We call for a process of public participation to engage on the future use of the lands in question.”

Another member, Jesse Tshibambe, aka The Phenomenal One, said: “We want to protect the heritage of the people of Cape Town.”

Last year, after several failed attempts to negotiate with the City resulted in eviction orders being served, the group organized a petition asking the City to lease the land to them.

Group spokesperson Moyo Uno said: “We have told the city that we would like to rent or buy the property and turn it into the first multi-purpose center for heritage, arts, recreation and sustainable living in the southern suburbs. . “

“The Phenomenal” Jesse Tshibanbe waits in court. Photo: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)
“The Phenomenal One” Jesse Tshibanbe waits outside the court. Photo: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)

The property has been in dispute since 2018 when the former tenants illegally sublet the property.

At that time, the city said it wanted to use the land for sports and recreation and issued a deportation order which was appealed to the lower court.

The City argues that not only was the land illegally subleased, but the individuals it subleased multiplied and began to use the land outside of its intended sporting purposes.

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