The City of Cape Town says it wants to evict tenants of at least 176 council houses as the authorities believe drugs are being sold from the properties.
Ernest Sonnenberg, mayoral committee (Mayco) member for housing, told the Cape Argus that of this total, 60 cases had been handed to the city’s attorneys to start the eviction process.
Evidence about the remainder of the properties, spread across the metropole, was still being gathered.
Smith said the longest part of the eviction process was getting the evidence and securing court dates.
Once complaints were received of illegal activities or anti-social behaviour, and if the complaint could be proven, the file went to a specific housing official and to a dedicated National Prosecuting Authority representative.
The NPA then asked the relevant police station for evidence. This included arrests, raids and previous convictions.
He said in 2007 the police were asked for evidence concerning 40 properties. Of these, 29 were still outstanding.
Smith was optimistic that the process of evictions would gain momentum soon.
An application to evict tenants from an Ocean View property was expected to be heard in court on Friday.
Three more cases were to be heard in the next two months, while another case involving a property in Belhar, called the Little House on the Prairie, was to be heard on October 31.
The property was allegedly used as an illegal shebeen.
Sonnenberg said that since the start of the city’s programme to rid its units of drug dealers and gangsters in 2007, only six successful evictions had taken place. These were in Parkwood, Langa, Ocean View, Plumstead, Manenberg and Bonteheuwel. Five other tenants moved of their own accord.
The 11 units were re-allocated to new families from the city’s 386 000-strong housing waiting list.
Sonnenberg said there were initially 254 complaints of council drug dens in 2007.
Community Safety MEC Dan Plato said most of the time it was not the suspected criminal “high flyers” who lived in council properties, but their “lieutenants”.
The rental collection in these units was not high, meaning many of them lived for free. “They are getting a free ticket to use state property to do their dirty work,” he said.
Residents had started pointing out the properties being used for drug dealing, Plato said.
Smith appealed to Plato and the police to forward all lists to the city. He said these would be added to the city’s list of drug dealers and gangsters.
The Weekend Argus reported on Saturday that Metro police raided 30 suspected drug dens in three days.
The raids, between Thursday morning and Saturday night, were part of Operation Choke and focused on Hanover Park and Mitchell’s Plain.
Senior Superintendent Charl Kitching said 10 houses were visited in Hanover Park on Thursday. Seven arrests were made on charges of possession of tik and stolen property. Drugs with a street value of R1 000 were confiscated.
On Friday and Saturday, 20 houses were raided in Mitchell’s Plain, during which five people were arrested on various drug-related charges.
All the properties had been reported as drug dens by members of the public. Metro police said they had first verified the information, then obtained search warrants.