Schubart residents: Court restored dignity

2012-10-09 18:25

Pretoria - Evicted residents of the Schubart Park flats in Pretoria central were elated on Tuesday after the Constitutional Court ruled that their removal was illegal.

Schubart Park Residents' Committee spokesperson Mashao Chauke said the court ruling had provoked intense, mixed emotions from the evicted people.

"Whilst others celebrated the court victory, some thought of our friends and relatives who have died as a result of the forced removals," he said.

"Around 30 of our people have succumbed to stress-related illnesses ever since we were evicted. Doctors' reports indicate that those who died were severely stressed," said Chauke.

He said the "brutal" evictions undertaken by the City of Tshwane, which owned the complex, would be reversed.

"This victory stops the local government from punishing poor people using evictions," he said.

"It also means that people can't be evicted to make way for expensive shopping complexes; we have enough malls around town," said Chauke.

On Tuesday, the court ordered the City of Tshwane and the residents to "engage meaningfully with one another and to report to the high court on their progress".

"It is now more than a year after the residents were removed from their homes. Finding out who they were, where they are, and what they still need to re-occupy their homes, [that] will require co-operation between them and the city," part of the judgment read.

"The residents are entitled to the occupation of their homes as soon as is reasonably possible," read another part of the ruling.

The metro municipality was ordered to pay the residents' costs in the high court (for earlier litigation processes) and in the Constitutional Court.

The court set aside earlier orders of the high court, made in September 2011, and of the Supreme Court.

Following the September evictions, the residents unsuccessfully approached the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria seeking an urgent court order against the City of Tshwane.

The order would have allowed them to re-occupy the complex.

The high court dismissed their application, but ordered the municipality to offer alternative accommodation.

The residents then sought leave to appeal against the decision and the judgment of the high court. The high court and Supreme Court of Appeal refused the applicants leave to appeal the judgment.

On Tuesday, the Constitutional Court upheld their appeal.

The municipality had argued that the complex was an unsafe living environment, an opinion that was based on expert advice.

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of SA (SERI) also entered the legal battle as a friend of the court.

SERI argued that the removal of the residents was unlawful and that the city had not provided enough alternative accommodation.

  • njdejager - 2012-10-09 18:47

    So now they can move back into the unsafe stripped building and then die when it collapses. How dignified. Well thats what they want so go for it.

      Willie Olivier - 2012-10-09 19:53

      i think the word know by now that the constitutional court is a joke!

      max.reynecke - 2012-10-10 05:54

      The F..n building doen't even belong to them...this country must be the biggest joke in the history of mankind.

  • berni.venter - 2012-10-09 19:03

    The buildings are unsafe! How is this a victory. Next report will be on people dying due to the conditions. But hey, be careful what you wish for... You just might get it.

      Willie Olivier - 2012-10-09 19:56

      who cares, do you?

  • henk63 - 2012-10-09 19:10

    Those animals made the buildings uninhabitable by breaking of everything they could sell, using the stairways as toilets, and tearing down everything else. Let them live in their own filth, pigs that they are. Hopfully the place will collapse one night while they are all in their stys, planning their next unlawful act.

  • berni.venter - 2012-10-09 19:15

    Just looking at the picture attached to the article the wall is showing clear signs of damp. Damp equals mould equals life threatening illnesses... But not to fear, the public health sector will know exactly what to do.

      p.borchard - 2012-10-10 09:59

      Yes berni, the public health sector will just force the Pretoria (sorry Tshwane) taxpayer to sort that (and everything else) out and roll out the red carpet for all the drug dealers, prostitutes, thugs etc to move right back in. The cycle of non-payment of rent, electricity, water etc will just carry on where it left off when they were evicted. Welcome to South Africa

  • john.cryink - 2012-10-09 21:02

    Who is going to pay for all of this the rate payer. Thankyou constitutional court for burdening Pretoria's rate payers.

  • wynand.vanloggerenberg - 2012-10-10 06:06

    where that judge their he is leading the people to a death trap

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