The City of Cape Town has served eviction papers to yet another set of victims. In an effort to create cash flow, the City is checking up on the property it owns and kicking out those who are unable to keep up with the market-related rentals.
The latest victims are two brothers who have spent the past 23 years growing flowers on a farm in Tokai.
Maybe I am a bit sensitive on the subject because my family has being buying from the Flandorp brothers for years, but they have built a thriving business growing and selling freshly cut flowers – as well as doing the community a service by collecting horse manure and using it to make compost.
The two received a letter from the state attorney, acting on behalf of Premier Helen Zille and MEC for Transport and Public Works Donald Grant, giving them until next Monday to remove their goods as well as all those unlawfully occupying the property to leave.
I mean, how would you feel if that happened to you? Get up and move on? Sure, that’s easy enough to say, but this is a community’s livelihood we are talking about.
Although Alistair Flandorp has written to the Human Rights Commission and the mayor’s office asking for help, he has yet to receive a reply. iol interviewed him on Tuesday:
“Wherever we turn no one wants to help.”
He said his father, Phillip Flandorp, started the business in 1993 after an agreement with the principal of the Porter School who had promised them a 99-year lease. “It was just a handshake in those days, so we don’t have a lease.”
He and his brother Desmond have been running the flower and compost business since then. They provide a service to horse owners in Tokai and Constantia by collecting manure and composting it.
Flandorp employs about 30 people, 12 of whom live on the property. Prisoners from Pollsmoor Prison are also employed.
So why the sudden eviction notice? Well, Western Cape transport and public works department spokesman Byron la Hoe explained it isn’t really sudden at all:
We were unable to reach an agreement with him on a market-related rental. Our policy does not allow us to rent out government properties for less than the market value. We have taken all possible steps to handle this matter fairly and the application for eviction is an absolute last resort.
Hmmmm. They are probably wanting to sell it to some developer – oh wait, they already have.
You see, they aren’t the only ones who are set to be evicted – The Tokai Lions Club, based on the property, is also in the dark about its future.
The president of the club, Jules Blake, said that although they have been trying to extend their lease, they have been unsuccessful and at the end of June an invoice for rent came from a company called Quay Properties.
“When I called to ask what was happening with our lease I was told they had just been appointed and the accounts were in a big mess and were being audited.” Blake said it would be devastating to lose the building where they conduct a lot of community work.
So what does Quay Properties do exactly? Well, according to their website:
Our main source of business is that of all fundamentals of property management, including valuations, leasing, resort management and other similar property related services. Our focus is to provide a highly efficient service to provide our clients with a maximum return on their investment. We also specialise in problematic properties that require specialised experience in making them viable.
Can people stop trying to make more money, and just give others a chance to live their lives? There’s definitely more ways than one to make some cash money for the City.
Also, I just don’t think we can cope with more development at the moment, traffic is a bitch all the time.
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