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Judge slams Pilgrims Rest tenders

 Johannesburg - The High Court in Pretoria on Thursday issued an order restraining the Mpumalanga provincial government from evicting occupants of Pilgrims Rest business premises.

Judge Stanley Makgoba criticised the tender process to obtain new tenants followed by the provincial authorities, the owners of the historic gold mining town.

13-07-2012 Sharon Paterson with her employers, Agnes Sebopela and Renetah Malatji and other troubled community of Pilgrims Rest including residents and business owners are not letting the government take over their land.Photo: Tiro Ramatlhatse.

“I have to say this whole process is a sham, it just cannot work. The second respondent (Mpumalanga public works MEC Dikeledi Mahlangu) is hereby restrained from evicting the applicants pending a review of the whole system,” said Makgoba.

“I came to realise that the tenders awarded are marred with controversy and taken with some measure of illegality.

“There is prima facie evidence that the awarding of the tenders was not made in accordance with the system that is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive, (and) cost effective, as required in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.”

The business owners filed an urgent application seeking an interdict by the court to prevent their eviction, after being served with notices by the public works department.

Makgoba said it was an uncontested fact that the group of business people leased the properties from the provincial authorities. Some had been using the facilities for about 40 years.

“It is in the interest of the public that the present occupants of the buildings who are operating there continue to occupy and serve the community,” said Makgoba.

“The applicants have made a good case for a review of the awarding of the tenders. I hereby give judgment in favour of the applicants.”

The provincial authorities were interdicted from awarding any tenders for new occupants to use the buildings.

The court ordered the respondents to furnish the applicants with the documents relating to the contentious tenders process, and adjudication would begin. - Sapa

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