Crucial housing judgment still outstanding 16 months later, judiciary fails to explain why

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
The judgment in the case brought by Eric Lolo (above) against the Drakenstein Municipality over emergency housing has been outstanding for 16 months now.
The judgment in the case brought by Eric Lolo (above) against the Drakenstein Municipality over emergency housing has been outstanding for 16 months now.
Barbara Maregele, GroundUp

It's been 16 months since Acting Judge Bernard Martin reserved judgment in a matter relating to emergency housing for many destitute families that face evictions in the Drakenstein municipality., GroundUp reported.

GroundUp first reported that the judgment was reserved in February 2021.

The case was initially lodged against the municipality by Eric Lolo, a farm dweller from Wellington. He had been served with an eviction order in 2015 and no emergency accommodation was provided for him and his daughter.

Lolo brought the case on behalf of himself and other people living on farms in Drakenstein who find themselves in the same situation. According to court papers, farm dwellers want the municipality to provide adequate emergency housing to people, most of whom are poor farm workers, facing eviction in rural areas.

Evicted farm dwellers were previously relocated by the municipality to densely populated informal settlements.

READ | Still no verdict in emergency housing case, 15 months after judgment reserved

The matter was heard in the Western Cape High Court for the first time in August 2020 and the last hearing took place in February 2021. According to judiciary norms and standards, a judge "should make every effort to hand down reserved judgments no later than three months after the date of the last hearing".

In March this year, Lolo's legal representatives, JD van der Merwe Attorneys, first raised concerns about the lengthy delay, stating that it is the judge's duty to deliver reserved judgments diligently and without undue delay.

The attorneys were told via email on 24 May that the ruling would be available by 14 June. But this date has come and gone.

Lolo's attorneys are yet to get a response from Martin.

The judge's secretary did not respond to our questions.

Judiciary spokesperson Lusanda Ntuli promised to get back to us but did not do so by the time of publication.

Lolo currently still lives on a farm outside Wellington. His eviction matter is still suspended in the Wellington Magistrate's Court, pending the outcome of the High Court ruling.

Never miss a story. Choose from our range of newsletters to get the news you want delivered straight to your inbox.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can 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. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
A Section 89 panel headed by former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo found President Cyril Ramaphosa has an impeachable case to answer on the Phala Phala scandal.
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Ramaphosa should do the honourable thing and immediately resign.
23% - 1482 votes
Ramaphosa should follow due process and submit himself to an impeachment hearing.
30% - 1915 votes
Ramaphosa should fight the findings in court and keep his job at all costs
47% - 3035 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.