Evictions: Legal Resource Centre's case against City of Cape Town heard - again

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Members of the Metro Police clash with angry members of the Khayelitsha community over land invasions on July 21, 2020 after the City’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit, accompanied by law enforcement officers demolished informal structures at eThembeni near Empolweni in Khayelitsha
Members of the Metro Police clash with angry members of the Khayelitsha community over land invasions on July 21, 2020 after the City’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit, accompanied by law enforcement officers demolished informal structures at eThembeni near Empolweni in Khayelitsha
Photo by Gallo Images/Die Burger/Jaco Marais
  • An application was brought by several activist questioning whether the City of Cape Town acted lawfully when carrying out evictions and shack demolitions during the nationwide lockdown
  • The case was heard virtually before judges Vincent Saldanha, Hayley Maud Slingers and Mokgoatji Dolamo.
  • The new hearing comes after the completion of a first hearing before two judges, the two presiding judges at the time could not reach an agreement on their judgment.

The court battle between the EFF and Legal Resource Centre (LRC) against the City of Cape Town kicked off in a new hearing before three new judges on Thursday.

This after the completion of a first hearing before two judges, which concluded at the end of November last year after four days of argument by the various counsel.

The two presiding judges, Shehnaz Meer and Rosheni Allie, could not reach an agreement on the terms of their judgment.

An application was brought by the LRC, housing advocacy group Housing Assembly and the SA Human Rights Commission questioning whether the City acted lawfully when carrying out evictions and shack demolitions during the nationwide lockdown.

The case was heard virtually before judges Vincent Saldanha, Hayley Maud Slingers and Mokgoatji Dolamo.

READ | Evictions: Legal Resource Centre plan to take City of Cape Town to court

LRC legal representative Norman Arendse told the court: 

The onus should be on the City to invoking this common remedy but is revoking people's shelter and land. We are saying the way in which the City and province evict people there is huge concern of human rights violation. Our position is that all evictions should take place only with a court order.

The LRC wants the court to declare the conduct of the City unlawful where it has demolished informal dwellings and structures in Ocean View, Kommetjie and Ethembeni in Khayelitsha.

The EFF, which has also joined the application, wants the City to return the structures that were demolished or compensate residents whose homes were demolished.

The LRC also wants the court to have the City's Anti-Land Invasion Unit be declared unconstitutional and unlawful. The City recently published a tender calling for bids from private contractors to demolish illegal informal structures.

Arendse said: 

As an organ of state they need to explain what the mandate of the Anti-Land Invasion Unit is. They have not outlined what the powers are.

"Regarding the tender, there is nothing in the documents that explains or guides the contractors who we know, from the records, work under the supervision of the unit. These contractors are given carte blanch."

ALSO READ | Protests, attempts to invade land affecting housing projects worth R1.3bn - City of Cape Town

But Saldanha questioned the LRC's demand that if eviction orders were granted by the court it must be supervised by the police.

"It would be a complete overburden for the police should the court grant such an order. You want us to grant an order where police should be present when there are evictions. What we have lost in this entire debate is how does an organ of state, in 26 years of democracy, gives value to residents staying in shacks," he said.

Meanwhile, the Western Cape government is expected to make submissions in support of a counter-spoliation as a constitutional means to prevent land invasions.

The case continues on Friday.

Do you want to know more about this topic? Sign up for one of News24's 33 newsletters to receive the information you want in your inbox. Special newsletters are available to subscribers.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
As a child or as an adult, have you ever been a victim of bullying?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, at school
57% - 92 votes
Yes, at work
19% - 30 votes
No, I've never experienced this
25% - 40 votes
Vote
USD/ZAR
14.31
(+0.7)
GBP/ZAR
19.82
(+1.5)
EUR/ZAR
17.15
(+1.2)
AUD/ZAR
11.07
(+0.8)
JPY/ZAR
0.13
(+1.0)
Gold
1,776.77
(+0.8)
Silver
25.96
(+0.4)
Platinum
1,204.50
(+0.6)
Brent Crude
66.94
(+0.5)
Palladium
2,781.00
(+1.3)
All Share
68,699
(+1.3)
Top 40
62,898
(+1.3)
Financial 15
12,446
(+0.8)
Industrial 25
89,364
(+0.8)
Resource 10
70,350
(+2.2)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo