Pilgrim's Rest group 'excited' after ruling

2012-07-26 20:48

Pretoria - The applicants of an urgent court interdict barring the Mpumalanga authorities from carrying out evictions in Pilgrim's Rest were excited about Thursday's court victory.

An attorney representing the group of business people operating in the old gold mining town, Pieter Steenkamp, said there was still a long legal wrangle ahead.

"Of course we are very happy about the judgment that was granted. This is but a small victory at this point, we still have a long way to go," said Steenkamp.

On Thursday, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria issued an order restraining the Mpumalanga provincial government from evicting occupants of Pilgrim's Rest business premises.

The order, issued by Judge Stanley Makgoba, stated that the tender process taken by the provincial authorities was "a sham" and could not go ahead.

Steenkamp said the ruling secured employment for a number of people.

"Imagine the people who were all supposed to vacate the business premises on 1 August. Their employees would become jobless," he said.

"In respect of the whole town and everyone in it, we are extremely happy. Not only would the employees have suffered but their children, families and everybody else. The residents would have had to drive 60km to find a tank of petrol [as the petrol station was facing eviction]," he said.

The judge ordered the respondents, including Mpumalanga Public Works MEC Dikeledi Mahlangu, to furnish the applicants with the documents relating to the flawed tender process so that adjudication could begin.

"We have already requested those documents. The state needs to furnish us with those documents so that adjudication can begin on the transparency of the tendering process," said Steenkamp.

The Mpumalanga public works department owns and runs the historic town, which has been declared a national monument.

The disgruntled group of business people leased the properties from the provincial authorities. Some had been using the facilities for about 40 years.

Giving his judgment, Makgoba said it was in the public's interest to let the current occupiers continue with their operations in the small town.

He said the province's tender process to get new tenants was not done in accordance with the system that is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive, [and] cost effective, as required in the Constitution of South Africa.

The judge expressed concern that the new tenants who had been given the tenders to occupy the premises from August, did not have the legal requirements to carry out business in Pilgrims Rest.

"It is worth mentioning that I have discovered that there are Khoza sisters, part of the respondents, who have been awarded eight tenders. There is no evidence to prove whether they have the capabilities to operate and run businesses being run by the applicants.

"None of the respondents [people given the tenders] have filed any affidavit to explain to me whether they have that capability or the means to operate the businesses," he said.

The judge slammed the provincial authorities, saying they had not handled the aggrieved occupants' lease agreements in good faith.

"Irrespective of their occupying the buildings for so many years, almost all the present occupiers' were not awarded the tenders. Instead, outsiders from the town got the business leases," said Makgoba.

After the judgement, municipal spokesperson David Nkambule said he would be guided by the outcome of a review process ordered by the judge.

"We respect the judgment and we feel that matter is [still] sub judice. It would be premature for us to comment on the merits and demerits of the case," he said.

  • Nicorien Le Roux - 2012-07-26 21:07


      matthew.swanepoel.9 - 2012-07-26 21:32

      I love it!!!!!!

      Squeegee - 2012-07-26 21:33

      This gives me some hope as far as government scammers are concerned. Now let the Hawks investigate and lock up those who would have benefited illegally.

      irene.buthelezi.1 - 2012-07-27 02:06

      I'll bet Susan Khoza isn't too happy with this outcome. Love it when a thief gets whats coming to them.

      patsy.smith.125 - 2012-07-27 10:27

      So far.............. Still more BS to come....

  • julian.booyens - 2012-07-26 21:09

    Well done kick those bullies where it hurts!

  • celeste.wilson3 - 2012-07-26 21:13

    Well done to Judge Stanley Makgoba for seeing through this sham, as he put it!! This is not over but at least these poor people have a chance to save a very important piece of their lives and our country.

      patsy.smith.125 - 2012-07-27 10:31

      Taking over an historical monument (Pilgrim's Rest)for their own greedy ends, fracking in the Karoo, more atomic energy? What next for heaven's sake. Can't these idiots learn from other peoples' mistakes. All they can see is dollar signs.

  • graham.greeff - 2012-07-26 21:39

    Hooray Hooray !!!!!!!!!!!!! Do these other people actually believe that they will try and close an histociral town becaue it's too white ? Come on cousnsellors you need some more green herbs in your breakfast !!!!!!!!!!!!! When will you all stop trying to desstroy this county and the Heritage that we are all supposed to enjoy ? Take your huge salaries and cut down some more trees and the a new plane for Uncle J ! This is getting beyond a joke !

  • keith.recore - 2012-07-26 21:47

    South African citizens are fortunate they have had recourse w/ some of the courts and the publice protector. Eventually, eventually the government agencies will learn to do it right the first time, until then, may a somewhat functioning court system and public protector stay vigilant, for the people.

  • sheik.mohammad.378 - 2012-07-26 21:56

    It smells of corruption, in fact everything this government does smells of corruption.

      irene.buthelezi.1 - 2012-07-27 02:07

      Doesn't just smell. It is.

  • Henk - 2012-07-26 22:13

    And he was not an Apartheid judge! WOW! ANC SCUMBAGS!!!

  • Shaun Robinson - 2012-07-26 22:34

    What a pitty, I wish government would read the comments here so they can see how racially sick this country really is... Madiba must be crying inside every night that this is what his life led too. Luckily he won't be around to see its end...

      kevin.watson.7906 - 2012-07-26 23:27

      That might only serve to make them more kleptocratic!

  • patricia.dewet.92 - 2012-07-27 06:59

    They don't want licenses, because they were going to sell the business back to the original owner, or rent it to him. This is the way business is being done.

  • clairejk1 - 2012-07-27 08:40


  • theo.vanbeek.58 - 2012-07-27 09:00

    No comments from the ANC contingent?

  • leonao - 2012-07-27 09:04

    Give that man a Bells!!

  • flysouth - 2012-07-27 09:25

    Alright News24 - get digging and tell us just who are these Khoza sisters and just what corruption are they involved in with this matter!

  • patsy.smith.125 - 2012-07-27 10:26

    Bloody disgrace what these buddy-buddies think they will get away with! Far too much of it going on. How is it possible to virtually empty the business part of a town just for two greedy sisters? I hope they land up in jail.

  • iceman196 - 2012-07-27 11:13

    excellent, stuff you anc

  • aubrey.christie - 2012-07-27 13:03


  • jim.dickson2 - 2012-07-27 13:22

    The judge will probably be replaced.............

  • wayne.faulds - 2012-07-27 14:43

    Congratulations. Mphumalanga appears to be the next Limpopo.

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