Judgment reserved in Reclaim the City versus Growthpoint case

2019-06-03 21:08
(Supplied)

(Supplied)

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Judgment was reserved on Monday in a case pitting social justice activists against wealthy property developers in Cape Town. 

On December 4, 2018, a group of around 30 protesters from Reclaim the City, Unite Behind and the Social Justice Coalition occupied a parking lot at the bottom of Loop Street in the Cape Town. The land is owned by Growthpoint Properties, which it obtained from the City of Cape Town in 2016 at what Reclaim the City claims was a low price.

On the same day, after an urgent application from Growthpoint Properties, Western Cape High Court Judge Kate Savage granted an interim interdict against the protesters. The application was granted ex parte – meaning not all the parties to the matter were heard. 

On Monday, Advocate Sean Rosenberg SC for the applicants, Growthpoint Properties, asked Judge Judith Cloete of the Western Cape High Court to confirm the earlier interdict. 

Advocate Ria Matsala, for the interested parties Reclaim the City and Unite Behind, argued that this should not be done.

Rosenberg argued that "the occupiers were on site to occupy" for an undetermined time, and that their motivations were immaterial. He said it was private property.

Matsala argued that the applicants – in their initial application – failed to state all the material facts before the court and breached the good faith required by an applicant in an ex parte matter.

"It's clear that certain facts were misconstrued or misrepresented to the court," Matsala said. 

She added that the applicant had not put it before the court that what was taking place was a protest – a constitutionally enshrined right. 

Matsala further argued that the protesters would not have been unknown to the respondent, as they had banners and wore T-shirts with their organisations' names. 

She said that the applicants had failed to disclose that they approached the interested parties' attorney - Jonty Clogger - and informed him that they intended to ask for an interdict, adding that they had also accused the interested parties' attorney of unethical and unlawful conduct. 

Rosenberg argued that the proceedings were not intended to reconsider Savage's earlier ruling. He said the interested parties had the opportunity to "vindicate their rights" on the return date of the interim interdict.

"There is no question of the affected parties not given the opportunity to vindicate their rights," he said. 

"No sustainable argument was put up that the interdict was not warranted."

He said an email from Clogger to Growthpoint's attorney on the day in question was included in the application for the interdict, so it was put before the court that they were in contact with the interested parties' attorney.

"We would submit that there was appropriate disclosure," he said.

Cloete reserved judgment and extended the interim interdict.

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Read more on:    growthpoint  |  cape town  |  land
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