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Cape Town evicts drug-dealers from its property

by Luyanda Makapela
on 09 Dec 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

The City of Cape Town has moved swiftly to implement a Cape High Court ruling to evict people from a council-owned property in Washington Street, Langa.

It was believed that drugs were being illegally traded on the property.

The city has instructed the Sheriff of the High Court to demolish the structures and evict the people on the property. The remaining tenants have been given until March 2009 to find alternative accommodation.

Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille attributed the successful approach to the High Court in this case, to the cooperation by city's Housing and Specialised Services Directorate, South African Police Services and the Assets Forfeiture Unit.

"We have requested a meeting with the Acting Judge President, Judge Jeanette Traverso, to emphasise the need to prioritise these matters on the court roll.

"We are indeed grateful to the police and Director Delawar Khalfe, who has instructed all local station commanders to expedite the gathering of evidence and the prosecution of those who abuse properties leased from the city for criminal purposes," Ms Zille said.

Chairperson of the City's Substance Abuse Task Team, Glen Kleinsmith said the police were able to provide the court with indisputable evidence of illegal activities, arrests and convictions for crimes relating to possession of drugs and dealing in drugs as well as the confiscation of drugs from the property.

He said once the judge's attention was drawn to the proof of illegal activities he was persuaded that the occupant had, by allowing such illegal activities to occur from the property, forfeited her right to lease it.

On the other hand, 31 leases have been cancelled as a result of illegal activities at the properties concerned of which 28 were in the process of being prepared for submission to the high court.

According to the council, the city's Specialised Services Department has trained some of its members as building inspectors so that illegal structures on the council and private properties that are being used for criminal activities in contravention of both the law, building and zoning scheme regulations, can be demolished.

The city has established a Substance Abuse Task Team to deal with drug and alcohol abuse in communities.

It has appealed to those citizens who were aware of drug dealing and shebeens taking place on council-owned properties to report those criminals to the police. - BuaNews

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