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WOODS TOCK/MA I TLA ND 2ND Visit us for

“Telling it as it is” E-mail: post@peoplespost.co.za

Tuesday 7 August 2012

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‘What are we going to do?’ TAURIQ HASSEN

OUT IN THE COLD: Tenants at the Cornwall Street block of flats move their personal belongings out onto the street. Photo: Tauriq Hassen

CORNWALL Street in Woodstock was a scene of confusion and anger when seven families were evicted from a block of flats. On Wednesday morning, tenants were asked to pack their belongings and vacate their flats, as the block is scheduled for demolition. Evicted tenant Abduraghman Ismail spoke of his frustration to People’s Post while keeping an eye on his belongings on the pavement. “This cannot be right. We have human rights, but this is really not human at all,” Ismail fumes. He and his family refused to move from their flat after receiving an eviction notice the Friday before. But they were threatened by the sheriff of the court. With a tear about to fall, he says: “If my family is to live on the streets, I could not afford to be arrested because they will need me. What are we going to do and where are we going to live?” When People’s Post went to the area, banging noises could be heard from inside the block of flats. Men carted personal belongings to nearby houses. Neighbours and curious onlookers gathered around, commiserating with the evicted tenants. Juleiga Magerman, a tenant in the block for almost 22 years, scrambled to collect the personal effects from her home. She had no clue where her family would go. Surrounded by her children, Magerman says: “This happened all of a sudden and I had no chance to really figure out what I am going to do. But I have no choice and I will have to sleep on the street with my family.” Shahied Meisenheimer, who has been living in the flat for the past four years, stood stunned as he watched his flat being cleared out. When the eviction notice arrived, Meisenheimer says he rushed to seeking legal advice. “When we arrived at the Legal Aid, they just laughed at us and the more we asked for help, the more they kept turning us away.” Meisenheimer started accepting his fate, preparing to spend the night in his blue car

outside his flat, but still struggled to come to terms with the eviction. “I still can’t believe this is happening. These people do not have a heart, because they’re evicting us in Ramadan,” he says. According to the tenants, notice was received in 2009 when talk of a court order surfaced. However, tenants highlighted that nothing had been put on paper since and talks of either an eviction or court order had died out. Ismail says: “We were suddenly asked to

leave and they gave us about three days to pack our things and find an alternative place to live, which cannot be right.” Owner of the property, Fatima Gaibie, believes she has given the tenants enough time to find alternative accommodation. She adds that a two-year notice period had been given and says she cannot understand why the eviction is so “shocking”. Gaibie says: “I gave them enough time. They have been living there for nothing and two years is more than enough time.”

The building is set to be demolished and approvals have already been granted by council, Gaibie confirms. She says: “That building is no good and is already falling apart. It must be thrown down.”

P eople’s Post Post wishes all readers a ha happy ppy Women’s Women’s Day People’s Quality is our

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Peoples Post Woodstock-Maitland 7 Augustus 2012  
Peoples Post Woodstock-Maitland 7 Augustus 2012  

Peoples Post Woodstock-Maitland 7 Augustus 2012

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