Cato Crest evictions: city manager must explain why he should not go to jail

2013-09-10 00:00

DURBAN city manager Sbu Sithole will soon have his day in court to explain why he shouldn’t be imprisoned for contempt of court.

Sithole will be joined by the head of the Land Invasions Unit Harvey Mzimela after they were ordered to appear in the Durban high court.

The court granted a rule nisi (an interim order to be confirmed at a later date) that compels Sithole and Mzimela to appear in court on Thursday to explain why they should not be imprisoned for 30 days for allowing illegal evictions to continue at Cato Crest.

In August, the court granted the residents of Cato Crest informal settlement an order to prevent the municipality from demolishing their homes without a court order.

Last week, Abahlali base­Mjondolo and residents of the informal settlement went to court on an urgent basis to stop the evictions and demolition of their homes. The demolition of shack dwellers’ homes at the beginning of the month was regarded as being in violation of an undertaking made to the high court that the city would halt evictions pending the finalisation of the application for a final order.

Socioeconomic Rights Institute of South Africa executive director Stuart Wilson said: “When the state wilfully disobeys a court order, it makes a criminal of itself. It subverts the rule of law. It tears the fabric of our constitutional democracy.”

Wilson said it was unacceptable that poor residents of an informal settlement have go to court three times to stop the illegal demolition of their homes.

“It is equally disturbing that the only way to hold a municipality accountable, to enforce court orders, is to bring individual office-bearers to court on pain of imprisonment for contempt.”

Last week, the court order further directed the municipality to construct “temporary habitable dwellings that afford shelter, privacy and amenities at least equivalent to those destroyed” for the residents whose shacks were demolished at the beginning of the month.

Wilson said the second order has not been respected by the city.

Municipal spokesperson Thabo Mofokeng said the municipality would deal with the matter through legal channels.

“We will respond accordingly. As far as we are concerned, we were not in contempt of court because we demolished new shacks. The 11 shacks that were protected by the previous order were untouched,” he said.

Mofokeng said the city officials only flattened the new shacks in the area. He said the proliferation of shacks was setting the city back in its war to eradicate slums.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Men.24 Model of the Week: Wendy from Cape Town

Find out more about our featured model, Wendy from Cape Town


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content these holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.