- 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.
LRC legal representative Norman Arendse told the court:
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.
"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."
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.
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