Deputy sheriff of Knysna Rowen Oelf locks the door to one of the houses at 3 Nelson Street
KNYSNA NEWS - Friday, June 18 was eviction day for the illegal dwellers of Knyna's notorious 3 Nelson Street, known as the 'crime den'.
But mysteriously, this only happened on Tuesday, June 23 and it is still not clear to the Knysna-Plett Herald whether they are completely evicted or allowed to stay on until alternative housing has been found for them by the municipality.
On Tuesday morning, a team of three arrived from the sheriff's department, led by Deputy Sheriff Rowen Oelf.
Oelf spoke kindly to two of the eleven respondents who were given final eviction orders granted by Magistrate C Maseti in the Knysna Magistrate's Court on April 4.
Marlene Plaatjies, second respondent, and Nita Appels were present when the sheriff was there to explain that they needed to vacate the premises.
Later on in the day, the sheriff arrived with the police and cleared out all the 'tenants' belongings, which were then put on the pavement before the doors to their respective rooms were locked.
However, when the Knysna-Plett herald returned much later in the afternoon, they had allegedly been told by Plaatjies that their stay had been extended until the municipality had found them alternative accommodation.
In a response from the Knysna Municipality on Wednesday morning, June 24, the municipal manager Grant Easton said: "The municipality was ordered by the court to provide alternative accommodation for only five of the respondents (1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th). The municipality has no further duty to any other occupant.
We will not be providing alternative accommodation to anyone other than those persons the court ordered the municipality to provide alternative accommodation to.
The Integrated Human Settlement Department officials went to the house yesterday to assist the respondents to complete the necessary paper work required for claiming the emergency housing kits and added them to the housing waiting list. The department is in the process of acquiring the material from the supplier. The municipality will also assist the respondents who are women, disabled or elderly persons with erecting the structures."
According to the eviction order, only the five respondents who attended court proceedings (as identified by Easton) are eligible for help from the municipality as ruled by the court.
The Knysna-Plett Herald will follow up this story in next week's edition by which time there will hopefully be more clarity about the currently uncertain situation.
As the Knysna-Plett Herald was going to press yesterday, the sheriff and SAPS had been back to Nelson Street. All 11 occupants had been evicted again and their belongings put on the pavement.