Tempers flare during Brandwag eviction chaos

Agency’s officials allegedly threw tenants' belongings outside

Chaos had erupted at the Brandwag flats in Bloemfontein with residents breaking down welded doors in the middle of the night on Wednesday to carry their belongings back into the flats. This came after over 100 families were left homeless when they were evicted from the municipal flats on Wednesday.

The flats are administered by Free State Social Housing Company (FRESHCO). According to one of the residents whose name is withheld for fear of victimisation, the company’s representatives knocked on their doors at 5am on Wednesday morning, telling all residents that they needed to be out.

“These people started throwing our stuff out, and some of our things were stolen and it was just chaos. We did not receive any eviction letters or some sort of communication whatsoever, it is really heartbreaking,” said one of the evicted.He said with tempers flaring and scuffles broke out between police and residents.
Another tenant who also chose to remain anonymous told Dumelang News that she was surprised by random men in uniform who welcomed themselves into her flat and then removed her belongings.

“I asked them where the sheriff is so that they can explain what was going on to me and they said there isn’t a sheriff there but they were told to come remove everything from my flat. Then I asked if they have an eviction letter or anything and they said they didn’t have it. Then they took my things out,” she explained.She said she then called the FRESHCO and she was told that she owes three months’ worth of rent and could not stay at the flats any longer.

Mangaung Metro Mangaung Metro EFF Councillor Baba Soabelo described the actions of the municipality as inhumane. Free State Provincial Manager of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), Thabang Kheswa, told SABC Radio News that the municipality agreed to hold off on the eviction for a couple of days. He said the SAHRC Commission made a finding in an earlier eviction-case that if the municipality enforces an eviction order, it is obligated to offer residents alternative accommodation which has not been done.At that stage, it was still unclear what alternative accommodation Brandwag residents will receive, or for how long the municipality is going to hold off on the eviction.

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