Bromwell Street residents protesting outside the Cape Town High Court. - Image by Ashraf Hendrick via
Ashraf Hendrick

Acting Western Cape High Court Judge Leslie Weinkove who in February showed that he clearly has no clue or simply chooses to ignore the impact which Systemic & Structural Racism has on the majority of South Africa's population, especially the very poor who are being displaced in the case he was presiding over, has stepped down from presiding over the Bromwell Street Residents vs The City of Cape Town case.

The court case stems from the city's plans to relocate the 27 residents, including children, to a "Temporary Relocation Area" in Wolwerivier, about 30km away from the city centre.  
Wolwerivier has a high similarity to the much bewailed Blikkiesdorp which though branded a "TRA" has after nearly a decade not seen any of the residents moved into formal housing. Nine years is anything but temporary.
The Bromwell Street residents have rejected the city's plans and are saying that Wolwerivier is far from schools, health-care facilities and transport nodes.

Judge Leslie Weinkove, who had caused outrage with his insensitive remarks which clearly displayed bias against the poor, has now decided to step down from the Bromwell Street Case.
His decision is however not pursuant to the application that was made that he be recused after the he made his remarks that may have violated the residents' right to dignity.
His decision came after Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre presented evidence which brought to light the city's non-compliance regarding authorisation for its planned site for the Wolwerivier "Temporary Relocation Area".


For more on Judge Weinkove’s remarks, see our article:
Cape Town Judge Mocks The Poor with Disregard for The Effects of Systemic Racism in Bromwell Street Case


We at have of course regularly been saying that there is Nothing Temporary about "Temporary Relocation Areas" and that they are virtually dumping sites for people who have had to suffer the indignity of modern day Apartheid Style Forced Removals.


The Bromwell Street case can be regarded as a test case as it challenges not only the actions of the city and developers against residents being evicted from properties they have been occupying for decades but also highlights the need for the protection of residents rights against the harmful side-effects of gentrification.
The city continues to appear as though it is merely paying lip service to its claims that it aims to provide low-cost inner-city housing to the poor and lower middle class.


To learn more about the inhuman conditions in a TRA like Blikkiesdorp or the proposed Wolwerivier site see our article:
Winter Rains Bring Political Storm in a Blikkie


The eventual outcome of this case will hopefully also mark a positive milestone in the overall challenge to the city's willingness to go out of their way in facilitating the sale of privately owned land to developers who then displace residents who have been living in the city or on the city perimeter for generations.
Even worse... The city has a penchant for selling public land to high-end developers without considering the impact it has on the city's ability to provide low-cost housing for the poor within the inner-city itself.


Though it is no longer necessary to pursue the application for Judge Weinkove to step down, Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre, on behalf of the residents, are still pursuing a complaint lodged with the Judicial Service Commission against Weinkove regarding the judge's remarks which coupld have possibly violated the resident's right to dignity and could have possibly breached the judicial code of ethics.


To learn more about how relocation to a TRA affects to a child's Right to Education, see our article:
Blikkiesdorp Children Denied Access to Education


The case will now be heard by Judge Mark Sher using the same court documents but both sides will be allowed to argue the case all over again.
We await a pronouncement on when the case will resume as that is dependent on the court and both parties coming to an agreement on a new time-line for the hearings.

For a Comparative Image of what a "Temporary Relocation Area"  like Wolwerivier Farm is, below is a picture of Blikkiesdorp - It is virtually a concentration camp.
Image courtesy of Molosongolo