Johannesburg - The City of Johannesburg acted unlawfully by failing to apply a policy on upgrading informal settlements in Slovo Park, the High Court ruled on Tuesday.
The court said the decision not to apply the policy was taken outside the legislative and policy framework applicable to informal settlements.
The Upgrading of Informal Settlement Policy concerns the provision of funding for informal settlements that are on land suitable for permanent residential development. It includes the provision of sanitation, water, electricity and waste removal.
Slovo Park residents had been without services for over 20 years.
"On the facts of this case, the decision is unreasonable and accordingly in breach of not only the residents' rights to just administrative action, but also of the residents' rights of access to adequate housing in terms of Section 26(1) of the Constitution," the court ruled.
Slovo Park residents submitted that they had been made countless promises of upgrades, but none of these had ever been met.
"This has left them to have a legitimate expectation, and the relocation flies in the face of this expectation that has been created over a very long period of time," the court said.
The City was ordered to make an application for funding to upgrade the area with the housing MEC within three months of the ruling.
Within four months, Mayor Parks Tau had to give the court registrar and the residents' attorneys a report setting out steps taken to comply with the court's order.
The MEC was expected to consider the application and submit, no later than three months after receiving it, a report about the upgrades.
The City had not commented on the ruling at the time of publishing.