Pretoria residents get costs order in refugees interdict application

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Refugees camped outside of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees offices in Pretoria.  (Alex Mitchley, News24, file)
Refugees camped outside of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees offices in Pretoria. (Alex Mitchley, News24, file)

Pretoria residents have secured a costs order in their application for an order to have refugees removed from outside the offices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees where they were camped.

The order, which Judge Natvarlal Ranchod handed down in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Thursday, was granted against the City of Tshwane, Minister of Home Affairs and South African Police Service (SAPS).

The Brooklyn police station commander, and national and provincial police commissioners were also cited in the application.

In the application, the Homeowners' Association and Brooklyn and Eastern Areas Citizens' Association argued that the refugees, who were the first respondents in the application and who were cited as "unknown protesters", were in contravention of municipal by-laws and other applicable laws. 

They argued that the refugees were camped outside the area from October 7 and the City, police, and Home Affairs did nothing.

In addition, they submitted that the respondents could have played a constructive role but waited for the court to issue an order before acting. 

Handing down judgment last week, Judge Ranchod interdicted the refugees from contravening by-laws and other laws applicable in South Africa, including causing a nuisance to residents in Brooklyn, Nieuw Muckleneuk and Waterkloof, from erecting any shelters, tents or shacks or causing unpleasant or offensive smells, News24 previously reported. 

Ranchod found that the respondents had a joint responsibility to control the situation of the refugees.   

Giving the costs order on Thursday, he ruled: "In all the circumstances, I am of the view that the court should follow the events and [the respondents] should be held liable for the costs."

"The fundamental point here is that the applicants have substantially succeeded in the relief that they have sought."

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