In a desperate attempt by the police to halt drug trafficking in Hanover Park, the Philippi Police have called on the City of Cape Town to evict drug dealers who run drug outlets on council-owned properties.
Early last year, local and provincial government set up a task team to identify hot-spots and properties used to contravene the law.
This led to the identification of 30 instances in the province, where the city said it would soon be taking action.
... almost all the houses in Hanover Park at which drugs were seized in a recent raid were illegally occupied.
Superintendent Basil Vallei, acting station commissioner of the Philippi Police Station, says that almost all the houses in Hanover Park at which drugs were seized in a recent raid were illegally occupied.
Vallei says rent papers of occupants investigated by the police show that they are not the rightful tenants of the properties.
"We have sent letters to the mayor's office, asking them to evict these people, and we are awaiting feedback from them so that we can take action," Vallei says, adding that they have records of the activities taking place at the dwellings.
JP Smith, chairperson of the City of Cape Town's Safety and Security Portfolio Committee, says a meeting is scheduled with lawyers tomorrow (Wednesday) to discuss the top 30 cases, which include the "Little House on the Prairie" in Belhar and another in a well-known township, to initiate eviction.
... can only take action once we have proof or evidence that criminal activities, such as trafficking drugs and selling alcohol, take place there
"A lot of the homes in question are not council-owned but private property. People expect us to evict these people but we can only take action once we have proof or evidence that criminal activities, such as trafficking drugs and selling alcohol, take place there," he says.
He says the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) and provincial government will come on board to help with the eviction process.
Smith says that if proof of illegal activities at council-owned houses comes to light, tenants will be served with notices stating that they are in violation of the lease. This then means their lease will be terminated and they will be evicted.
"In some cases, gangsters take over houses and force the occupants out of their homes, with the result that they don't have any accommodation."
Many tenants have violated their lease agreements by sub-letting or using the premises for illegal activities.
"In such an instance, we will have to either forcibly remove these elements or demolish the homes completely," says Smith.
He adds that if police know of instances where serious criminal activities are taking place, such as drug houses and shebeens where noise levels are disturbing and the sale of alcohol to minors takes place, they need to target these places and deal with the situation immediately.
The ward councillor for Hanover Park, Kenneth Lategan, says the city is in the process of drawing up a policy on new lease agreements for all council-owned properties.
"Many tenants have violated their lease agreements by sub-letting or using the premises for illegal activities. These people will summarily be evicted. This move is very much welcomed," says Lategan.
"The issue should be given urgent and serious attention, because school children go to these dwellings to buy tik and alcohol, which creates serious problems in the area."