ANAPIX: Cissie Gool House Residents picket outside court

South Africa – Cape Town – 22 April 2021 – People living at Cissie Gool House picket outside the Western Cape High Court on Thursday morning. The legal team representing the residents went to court to challenge the City of Cape Town’s(the City) application for a court order allowing it to conduct a survey of over 900 poor and working-class occupiers living in Cissie Gool House. Picture Henk Kruger/African News agency(ANA)

Approximately 50 Cissie Gool House residents picketed outside the Western Cape High Court on Thursday morning.

Cape Town, April 22 (ANA) The legal team representing the people living at Cissie Gool House went to court to challenge the City of Cape Town’s (the City) application for a court order allowing it to conduct a survey of over 900 poor and working-class occupiers living in Cissie Gool House (the occupied former Woodstock Hospital). The survey is the first step in the City’s court application to evict us from our only home in one of the biggest evictions in Cape Town since the forced removals during apartheid.

People living at Cissie Gool House picket outside the Western Cape High Court on Thursday morning. Picture Henk Kruger/African News agency(ANA)
South Africa – Cape Town – 22 April 2021 – People living at Cissie Gool House picket outside the Western Cape High Court on Thursday morning. The legal team representing the residents went to court to challenge the City of Cape Town’s(the City) application for a court order allowing it to conduct a survey of over 900 poor and working-class occupiers living in Cissie Gool House. Picture Henk Kruger/African News agency(ANA)
Cissie Gool House in Woodstock. Picture Henk Kruger/African News agency(ANA)

For almost four years Cissie Gool House has offered a refuge and safehouse to poor and working-class families that would otherwise have faced homelessness and displacement as a result of rampant gentrification in the Woodstock and Salt River areas.

Over the years, the families living at Cissie Gool House have turned an abandoned, derelict set of buildings into a community and a home. Before the Woodstock Hospital was occupied, the site lay vacant and under-utilised for decades. The hospital closed in 1992, and while a small portion of the site was initially used for the Woodstock Community Day Centre and Woodstock Men’s Clinic, the rest of the site lay vacant and unmaintained. Despite numerous promises from the City to develop affordable housing in the Woodstock and Salt River areas, there was no political will to develop the well-located site into affordable housing. In fact, the Western Cape Government only announced plans to use the site for social housing in 2017 after it came under public scrutiny for its sale of the Tafelberg site in Sea Point to a private buyer (although notices at the Woodstock Hospital at the time indicate that the Province actually planned to use the site as office space for Cape Nature).

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