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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town will apply for leave to appeal against a court judgment that it acted unlawfully when it demolished structures on privately-owned land in Philippi.
“The city is of the view that the judgment, especially as it pertains to the definition of what constitutes an occupied or unoccupied structure, has serious implications for the systematic, fair and just housing delivery system,” mayoral committee member for human settlements Tandeka Gqada said in a statement on Monday.
She said if the judgment was left unchallenged, it could incentivise land invasions and undermine the rule of law and sustainable housing provision.
The Western Cape High Court on Thursday ordered that the city reconstruct the demolished structures.
“By ruling that the mere existence of an intention to occupy a structure as a home without any factual requirement that the person actually lives in the structure, the court has in the city's view allowed for the serious erosion of a number of protected rights Ä
both of the State and private land owners,” said Gqada.
The city was taken to court after its anti-land invasion unit carried out raids and demolished more than 100 structures.
The city claimed it only demolished structures erected recently and left the long-standing ones.
On January 10, the city and the owner of the land launched an application to prevent further incursions on the property, and were granted urgent relief.
The Legal Resources Centre launched a counter-application on January 13 for an order directing the city to rebuild the structures demolished and interdicting the city from any further demolitions.
The city argued that all the structures demolished by the unit were unoccupied and vacant.
The court rejected the city's argument that it was entitled to demolish structures without a court order if it deemed the structures were unoccupied.
The court restricted further demolitions without a court order.