Activists attacked at occupied building

An attack on housing activists who are occupying Helen Bowden Nurses Home allegedly took place last week.

Police are investigating an alleged attack on housing activists who are occupying the Helen Bowden Nurses’ Home in Green Point last week.

The Nurses’ Home was dubbed Ahmed Kathrada House, after activists occupied it in response to the sale of the Tafelberg site by Provincial Government earlier this year.

In a statement issued to the media, Reclaim the City said that last Wednesday, around 8.30pm, a “group of at least eight armed and masked thugs entered occupied Ahmed Kathrada House”.

“They carried pangas, knives and guns. Their intention was clear – to intimidate with violence so that residents would leave their new home.”

According to the statement, the attackers stormed the building, pushed past security, and found their way to a communal room where residents were having an evening meeting. They broke windows, ransacked rooms and pulled out their weapons, shouting, “Leave this building, you cannot stay here. This building doesn’t belong to you!”

Reclaim the City have also occupied the Woodstock Hospital as part of their call for affordable housing in the inner-city for working class residents.

Last week the City’s mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, Brett Herron acknowledged that not enough had been done to reverse Apartheid spatial planning.

“The occupations have been peaceful, purposeful and without incident for five months. We have no clear knowledge yet of who may be behind this attack,” Reclaim the City said.

But, said Nkosikhona Swaartbooi, of Reclaim the City, they believe the attack was politically motivated.

Captain Elizabeth Munro, spokesperson for the Sea Point police, confirmed that the matter was under investigation. “Sea Point police attended a complaint at Helen Bowden Nurses Home, Granger Bay Boulevard, Wednesday July 19. Allegedly, residents attended a meeting at mentioned place, when a group of men with balaclavas and a firearm, approached them and threatened them.”

A case of pointing a firearm was registered and is being investigated while a pellet gun was also handed in.

Police said that no arrests had yet been made.