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ConCourt sends eviction case back

2011-12-07 19:03

Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court sent an eviction case back to the North Gauteng High Court on Wednesday.

It ordered the City of Tshwane to get more information on the matter for the High Court.

About 170 families had hoped to appeal against an eviction order granted by the High Court.

They took the land owner, Golden Thread Limited, the City of Tshwane, the minister for human settlements and the MEC for local government and housing to court.

The owner had obtained an eviction order to have them removed from Portion 25 of the farm Mooiplaats near Atteridgeville.

The people being evicted contested the High Court's finding that the eviction order was just and equitable, and appealed.

The city, the minister and the MEC joined in the proceedings in the High Court but except for a written submission by the MEC, took no part in them.

The High Court complained about this, but did not order the city to provide any information on the people being evicted.

Emergency housing

In a unanimous judgment written by Judge Zac Yacoob, the Constitutional Court held that, with a large number of families to be rendered homeless, the high court should have investigated more closely the question of whether their eviction was just and equitable.

Yacoob rejected the city's submission that Chapter 12 of the National Housing Code and the relevant legislative framework showed it was not obliged to provide emergency housing.

The city had contended that the province of Gauteng, not the city itself, was obliged to finance all emergency housing provision.

Yacoob said this proposition was "roundly rejected" by him and colleagues in a separate judgment handed down on Monday.

That judgment set a deadline for the city to provide alternate accommodation for people who are to be evicted from a derelict building.

The Constitutional Court ordered that the city of Tshwane file a report in the High Court, confirmed on affidavit, by February 28 about the people and the options available should they be rendered homeless.

Yacoob took exception to Golden Thread and the city describing the applicants as the "people who intend invading" or "who invaded" saying "occupiers" was more appropriate.

"This description of human beings is less than satisfactory and cannot pass without comment. It detracts from the humanity of the occupiers, is emotive and judgmental and comes close to criminalising the occupiers."