Heideveld housing wrangle

Elizabeth Daniels says she was given a document by an unknown project manager as permission to live in a Heideveld house.

The City of Cape Town plans to evict a 65-year-old woman they say has illegally occupied a unit at the Heideveld housing project, but the woman argues she has documents to prove the house was given to her.

Elizabeth Daniels and her husband Marco, moved into the house in Helderberg Close in April after having been given the documents by a person they only know as “the project manager”.

She said after being discharged from Groote Schuur Hospital where she had undergone treatment for cancer, she was informed that a letter had been posted to her sister in Mitchell’s Plain, saying she was to come and sign the documents to receive the house.

Ms Daniels said she signed the documents, but two months after moving in, she and her husband were told to vacate the premises.

The City said the documents they had were fraudulent.

They were given a week to move out.

“I said no, I have the papers. They took it and said that it is original and then said that it is fake,” said Ms Daniels, who added that she had been on the housing list since 1999 and felt devastated to lose the house as she had nowhere to go.

“They give all the young people houses but they want me to be out. It feels like they don’t want to give houses to the elderly,” she said.

However, the City’s Mayco member for area central, Siyabulela Mamkeli, said that Ms Daniels had never been allocated a house in the Heideveld project as she was not on the project’s beneficiary list.

“She moved into the house without the knowledge or permission of the City. According to information provided by Ms Daniels to the City’s officials, the house stood open and she moved in herself.

“Afterwards, Ms Daniels presented a letter as proof that she forms part of the project, but the letter is not consistent with the official letters issued by the City.

“The letter is currently being investigated by the South African Police Service,” he said.

Mr Mamkeli said the City first served Ms Daniels with a notice to vacate the house on Monday May 22.

He said Ms Daniels signed the notice and asked to be given until Friday June 9 to enable her to find alternative accommodation, upon which the City agreed to her request.

“To date, she has still not vacated the unit and legal action has now been instituted,” he said.

He also said that the City had laid a charge at Manenberg police station on Thursday June 15 to investigate the letter.

Manenberg police station’s spokesman, Captain Ian Bennett confirmed this.

“I can confirm a fraud case was registered regarding a person having false papers in their possession to occupy a dwelling,” he told Athlone News.

When asked if there was alternative accommodation for Ms Daniels, Mr Mamkeli said: “If instructed by the court, the City will have to provide alternative accommodation. Ms Daniels initially agreed to move in with her sister so that the house can be allocated to the rightful beneficiary, but she has not yet done so.”

Mr Daniels, however, denies these claims.

“They went to her sister’s house on their own without informing us and her sister was furious, thinking that we had made arrangements without her knowing,” he said.

Mugidien Barnes, a community worker and member of the project steering committee, said the logo on Ms Daniels’ documents was different from that of the City.

He said it remained a mystery who the people were who were handing out fraudulent documents to people in the community.

“The problem is that people are just doing whatever they want to do and don’t have respect for the process. They are also frustrated because they have been on the housing list for so long,” he said.

Mr Barnes said it was essential that the City educate people and keep them informed about the process and procedure.