City of Johannesburg loses eviction case

2011-12-01 19:02

Johannesburg - The City of Johannesburg must provide emergency housing for 86 people to be evicted from a building earmarked for redevelopment in Berea, according to a judgment handed down on Thursday.

The Constitutional Court also found the city's housing policy was inconsistent with its housing obligation, and unconstitutional because it did not provide accommodation for people in an emergency situation.

It rejected the city's argument that even if it did have an obligation to provide temporary accommodation in such cases, it did not have the means to do so.

"The court was not persuaded that the city did not have sufficient resources to provide accommodation for the occupiers, holding that the city had wrongly budgeted on the basis that it was not obliged to provide them with emergency housing."

The judgment dealt with when it would be just and equitable under the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act (PIE) to evict unlawful occupiers from private property.

It was common cause that the occupiers of the building were unlawful.

But they had been living in the building in abysmal conditions for a long time, and had paid rent, although no record of the rent to the present owner through a third party could be found.

Owners of the property, Blue Moonlight, bought the property in 2004 but met resistance when it wanted to redevelop it. The building was also a fire risk.

The occupants, who brought in around just over R1 000 per household, did not want to move because they would be homeless and away from their sources of income.

They tried to raise the matter with the housing tribunal, but eventually the issue went to court.

The city must, by April 1 2012, provide the occupiers whose names are on a list filed on April 30 2008, with temporary accommodation as near as possible to the Berea property.

  • cameronjohnprice - 2011-12-01 19:29

    Damn right - you can't just kick people out. Maybe the Government should party less and work more (or was that spend less money on party and more on the people) or both?

      Aaron - 2011-12-02 11:58

      You absolutely should kick people out if they're not there legally. They should rather go back to where they came from. It's not like anyone forced them to go and live illegally in Berea.

  • George - 2011-12-01 20:03

    You make the rules and you brake the rules to suite yourself. SUFFER YOU drainless ........................ stutter stutter It has now come back to you and bitten a big chunk out of your stupid ASSES Good

  • Hunter - 2011-12-01 20:10

    They occupied it unlawful, but paid rent? Does not make sense.

      henry.hattingh - 2011-12-01 20:51

      Hunter, they were not suppose to be in the building but they had to pay rent to Nigerians or some third party. That is how it always works with there buildings in Joburg. We warned them. We told them from the beginning be careful but we were just racists not wanting the sun to shine on the poor. Look what pretty mess they made for themselves. God help us !!

  • Cracker - 2011-12-01 20:16

    It is so easy to write judgments placing financial burdens on others who are not not as privileged to have the guaranteed salaries and perks of the writers of those judgments.

  • Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2011-12-01 20:45

    Pew! Houses for Nigeria.

  • ludlowdj - 2011-12-02 09:59

    Once again the government trying to enforce two sets of laws, one for themselves and one for the rest of us. Even if the ANC is somehow miraculously voted out by the largely ignorant majority, they will not relinquish power of step down without a fight.

  • Aaron - 2011-12-02 11:56

    So our rates must go to paying for accommodation for openly acknowledged illegal squatters? Does this law apply to everyone? Why should anyone bother paying rent/rates/utilities any more if this is the case? No wonder the place is such a dump.

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