Evicted Cape Town families cry for help

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About 30 families evicted from a social housing development in Cape Town this week have appealed to authorities to intervene in what they describe as a humanitarian crisis.

The evicted residents of Steenvilla, have spent the last few days living on a grass verge outside the premises. They’ve erected makeshift shelters to shield their families against the cold.

Many residents are former backyard dwellers, or low income earners. Steenvilla is among the largest government-funded developments in Cape Town, with rentals below market value. But residents say the complex management, SOHCO is unfairly increasing rentals, making it impossible for them to keep their payments up to date.

“They are saying that they’ve given people ample time to make right. However if you look at the cost of the rents and the peoples circumstances that have changed, they are not taking this matters into consideration. They are just saying get out there’s no alternative accommodation and that’s it,” says Resident, Sharon Davids.

Residents speak of being evicted without notice.

“We were evicted on Wednesday, I was not home. I went to see my family that lost three members in a fire. I went there because my sister stays there and when I came back we were evicted. I’m so hurt I don’t even know what to say,” says Mandisa Nzila.

This is not the first time residents of Steenvilla face eviction. Last year violence broke out when residents resisted. They say they are living in fear of losing their homes.

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