City of Cape Town to appeal court's eviction judgment, says it has to 'protect public land'

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City of Cape Town mayor Dan Plato. (Kamva Somdyala, News24)
City of Cape Town mayor Dan Plato. (Kamva Somdyala, News24)
  • The City of Cape Town will appeal a high court judgment, which ruled that a court order is needed for evictions to take place.
  • The case was brought by the SAHRC and the EFF amid a string of demolitions and evictions.
  • The City says it has removed over 55 000 illegal structures since 1 July.

Cape Town mayor Dan Plato says they will appeal a court judgment which removes the City of Cape Town's right to protect property from land invasion.

His announcement on Tuesday evening came after Western Cape High Court judges Shehnaz Meer and Rosheni Allie granted interim relief, and stated that the City must have a court order to evict anyone or demolish a home.

According to Plato, the City's land protection efforts led to the removal of over 55 000 illegal structures at around 30 different parts of the metro since 1 July. 

"The City's actions are necessary and vital for upholding the rule of law and for protecting public land intended for services, housing, community facilities, schools and transport services," he argued.

"The granting of an interdict preventing the City from conducting any counter-spoliation to protect public land without a court order goes far beyond what the Constitution and the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land (PIE) Act allow," added Plato.

GroundUp reported that the court also instructed SAPS members present at a court-sanctioned demolition or eviction to ensure that the actions were being lawfully executed and to "protect the dignity of the persons evicted".

The case was brought by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the EFF amid a string of demolitions and evictions by the City of Cape Town in recently-occupied informal settlements.

Plato said that the SAHRC's main application, to be heard at their preference only in October 2020, specifically asked the court to declare counter-spoliation unlawful, and for the common law to be amended.

"The City has stood firm against the illegal occupations over the last six weeks.

"We will not desert the residents of our City now and we will act to prevent land invasions until the ruling has been reviewed and sanity has prevailed," added Plato.

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