Jika Joe residents get court order

2012-08-22 00:00

A COURT order has been obtained against Msunduzi Municipality by 32 shack dwellers at the Jika Joe informal settlement whose homes were demolished recently.

In terms of the order granted urgently yesterday, the municipality is restrained from “threatening, interfering or communicating” with the dwellers other than through their lawyers, their attorney Sundeep Singh confirmed last night.

The municipality is opposing other parts of the application including a demand that it restore the structures that were demolished.

A date for the hearing of the dispute has yet to be decided.

Thirty-two former shack dwellers at Jika Joe brought an urgent application in the high court yesterday alleging that they, and other people who shared their dwellings, were illegally evicted without a court order and their homes demolished by the municipality on August 15.

All stated that they intend to institute claims against the municipality in due course for general and special damages.

They said in court papers that they and their families were traumatised and psychologically affected by the evictions and have been rendered homeless.

They managed to find temporary shelter with the help of sympathetic neighbours and friends.

Cresentia Zwane said in an affidavit she and the other applicants had lived at Jika Joe for many years.

“The settlement has been in existence for the past 20 years and there are [about] 6 000 people residing there with about 2 500 informal homes erected thereon,” she said, adding that they live in “squalid” conditions.

“We have been promised by the respondent [Msunduzi] for the past four to six years that they would build RDP homes for us, on a piece of land which has been allocated and earmarked close by, but nothing has materialised.”

She said many of those living at the settlement are unemployed and have no other place to live. Describing the evictions she said two security officers employed by Msunduzi arrived at the settlement escorted by two kombis full of armed SAPS officers.

Using chain saws, crow bars and ropes they “ruthlessly” brought down the homes.

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