Final eviction order

2014-10-30 00:00

A PIETERMARITZBURG high court Judge yesterday granted a final eviction order against 921 illegal occupiers of three municipal land sites in the city.

This followed revelations that their legal aid attorney had withdrawn as their representative, on grounds that they were unco-operative and failed to attend scheduled consultations in connection with the case.

The remaining 159 listed in the court papers will continue to defend the case.

As far as they were concerned, the matter was adjourned for an indefinite period pending further trial preparations and finalisation of a trial date.

High court Judge David Ntshangase meanwhile also ordered that the original interim interdict that was issued by Judge Thoba Poyo-Dlwati on July 28, will remain in force pending the final outcome of the case.

In terms of that order the people who had illegally invaded municipal land along Otto’s Bluff Road in Woodlands, Lotus Park and an area adjacent to Northdale stadium, were ordered temporarily to vacate the land, stop chopping down forests, clearing land for occupation and erecting structures on the sites in question.

Msunduzi municipality previously lodged an application for contempt of court against the land invaders, saying they were “ignoring” the interim interdict and continuing to build on the land. However two high court judges, Kate Pillay and Yvonne Mbatha, ruled that the unlawful occupiers had to be given more opportunities to defend the court proceedings.

As a result the Legal Aid Board was asked to assist them.

Judge Ntshangase was told yesterday that 921 of them had not co-operated with the attorney appointed to represent them, as a result of which he withdrew.

A man who claimed to be a representative of the group asked the judge to grant them more time to arrange another lawyer.

But the application was opposed by advocate Chris Snyman, for Msunduzi Municipality who submitted it was clear the group was “playing games with the court”.

He said they’d been given every opportunity to defend the case and failed to co-operate with their own attorney.

Judge Ntshangase upheld the objection and granted a final eviction order against the 921. The land invasions in the affected three areas has been plagued by violent confrontations, which included burning barricades being erected across roads and stoning of cars.

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