Majority of Green Point Tennis Courts unlawful: Occupants accept shelter offers

The City of Cape Town shared a recent media release, noting that the majority of the remaining unlawful occupants at the Green Point Tennis Courts have indicated a willingness to take up various offers of shelter and social assistance, based on recent engagements conducted by City of Cape Town social development officials. Unlawful occupants who have not accepted any offer of shelter are to be evicted under the Western Cape High Court order for this site. 

Full media release below:

CITY OF CAPE TOWN

7 FEBRUARY 2024

MEDIA RELEASE

Majority of Green Point Tennis Courts unlawful occupants accept shelter offers

The majority of the remaining unlawful occupants at the Green Point Tennis Courts have indicated a willingness to take up various offers of shelter and social assistance, based on recent engagements conducted by City of Cape Town social development officials. Unlawful occupants who have not accepted any offer of shelter are to be evicted under the Western Cape High Court order for this site. Read more below:

Under the court’s ruling, the sheriff is directed to evict the remaining unlawful occupants after 7 February, who have failed to voluntarily vacate the site. The eviction will take place in the coming days under the court’s direction, via the sheriff and SAPS , with City social development officials, law enforcement, playing supportive roles.

The court order further includes a standing interdict against any re-occupation at the courts, as well as further city-owned public spaces identified in the order.

The majority of the remaining occupants have accepted either an offer of dignified transitional shelter, or of emergency housing kits to be erected on land where the necessary permission is in place from the landowner.

City Safe Spaces and NGO-run night shelters offer social programmes to assist people off the streets sustainably, reintegrate them into society, and reunite them with family. Personal development planning and employment opportunities are made available, as are referrals for mental health, medical, and substance abuse treatment.

‘The City has gone to great lengths to extend every offer of care to individuals unlawfully occupying public places in these areas. Accepting social assistance to get off the streets is the best choice for dignity, health, and well-being.

‘The court-ordered eviction will now take place in the coming days as a last resort for those who have persistently refused support. It is important to note that offers of shelter still stand at all times during this process.

‘It is vital that public places must be open and available for all.

‘No person has the right to reserve a public space as exclusively theirs, while indefinitely refusing all offers of shelter and social assistance,’ said Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.

The City is further awaiting the High Court’s imminent ruling on a final eviction order for various homeless encampment sites in the CBD, including along Buitengracht Street, FW De Klerk Boulevard, Foregate Square, taxi rank and Foreshore, Helen Suzman Boulevard, Strand Street, Foreshore/N1, Virginia Avenue and Mill Street Bridge in the city.

City expanding Safe Space dignified transitional shelter

The City is spending R230 million over three years to expand and operate its Safe Space transitional shelters beyond the current 700 beds across CBD and Bellville facilities.

The City currently operates two Safe Spaces at Culemborg in the east CBD which offers 480 shelter beds across the facilities. The City is also set to open a new 300-bed Safe Space in Green Point in the coming months.

The City also recently supported a 63% bed boost to the CBD’s Haven Night Shelter, expanding this facility from 96 to 156 beds via a R500 000 cost contribution. During the winter, the City further enabled several NGOs to add 300 more temporary bed spaces to cope with additional shelter demand, including the deployment of 184 EPWP workers to assist NPOs.

In total, the City’s social development budget to help people off the streets amounts to R94,75m for 23/24, a 23% increase from 22/23 as the only metro dedicating a budget to this critical issue. Over three years, R75m will be available through grant-in-aid funding to NGOs, including those working to help people off the streets.

The City further runs the Matrix substance abuse treatment programme, with an 83% success rate for clients, addressing a key driver of why people end up on the streets.

In the 12 months ending June 2023, the City helped almost 3 500 individuals with shelter placement or referrals to an array of social services. This includes 2 246 shelter placements, 112 family reunifications and reintegrations, 1 124 referrals to social services, and over 880 short-term contractual job opportunities via the Expanded Public Works Programme.

The City’s Safe Space model includes:

· dignified shelter,
· comfort and ablutions,
· two meals per day,
· access to a social worker on-site,
· personal development planning,
· various social services including ID Book and social grant assistance,
· family reunification services
· access to substance and alcohol abuse treatment,
· skills training,
· help finding a job, and
· access to EPWP work placement

End

Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town

Media enquiries: media.account@capetown.gov.za

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