Final eviction order granted for Green Point Tennis Courts occupation – GHL

CBD and Atlantic seaboard Cape Town’s main economic and tourism hub, notes Mayor

High Court grants final eviction order for Green Point Tennis Courts unlawful occupation

12 December 2023  

The final eviction order follows efforts over time by the City to offer social assistance and care interventions to those persons unlawfully occupying the public space at the tennis courts, including access to dignified transitional shelter at NGO-run night shelters and City-run Safe Spaces.

These facilities offer social programmes to assist people off the streets sustainably, reintegrate them into society, and reunite them with family. Personal development planning and employment opportunities are made available, as are referrals for mental health, medical, and substance abuse treatment.

The City is further awaiting the High Court’s imminent ruling on a final eviction order for various homeless encampment sites in the CBD, including along Buitengracht Street, FW De Klerk Boulevard, Foregate Square, taxi rank and Foreshore, Helen Suzman Boulevard, Strand Street, Foreshore/N1, Virginia Avenue and Mill Street Bridge in the city.

‘The CBD and Atlantic seaboard is Cape Town’s main economic and tourism hub, and it is vital that public places must be open and available for all.

‘The City has gone to great lengths to extend every offer of care to individuals unlawfully occupying public places in these areas. Accepting social assistance to get off the streets is the best choice for dignity, health, and well-being.

‘Where offers of help to get off the streets have been persistently refused, we are seeking the court’s help as a last resort. No person has the right to reserve a public space as exclusively theirs, while indefinitely refusing all offers of shelter and social assistance,’ said Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.

City expanding Safe Space dignified transitional shelter

The City will spend R230 million over three years to expand and operate its Safe Space transitional shelters beyond the current 700 beds across CBD and Bellville facilities.

The City currently operates two Safe Spaces at Culemborg in the east CBD which offers 480 shelter beds across the facilities. The City is also set to open a new 300-bed Safe Space in Green Point next year, with this facility recently passing the planning appeals phase.

This year, the City supported a 63% bed boost to the CBD’s Haven Night Shelter, expanding this facility from 96 to 156 beds via a R500 000 cost contribution. During the winter, the City further enabled several NGOs to add 300 more temporary bed spaces to cope with additional shelter demand, including the deployment of 184 EPWP workers to assist NPOs.

In total, the City’s social development budget to help people off the streets amounts to R94,75m for 23/24, a 23% increase from 22/23 as the only metro dedicating a budget to this critical issue. Over three years, R75m will be available through grant-in-aid funding to NGOs, including those working to help people off the streets.

The City further runs the Matrix substance abuse treatment programme, with an 80% success rate for clients, addressing a key driver of why people end up on the streets.

In the 12 months ending June 2023, the City helped almost 3 500 individuals with shelter placement or referrals to an array of social services. This includes 2 246 shelter placements, 112 family reunifications and reintegrations, 1 124 referrals to social services, and over 880 short-term contractual job opportunities via the Expanded Public Works Programme.

The City’s Safe Space model includes:

- dignified shelter,

- comfort and ablutions,

- two meals per day,

- access to a social worker on-site,

- personal development planning,

- various social services including ID Book and social grant assistance,

- family reunification services

- access to substance and alcohol abuse treatment,

- skills training,

- help finding a job, and

- access to EPWP work placement

Issued by Media Office, City of Cape Town, 12 December 2023