Residents of a Joburg building were due to attempt to hold senior city officials in contempt of court today for not having found them alternative accommodation ahead of their impending eviction.
In December last year, the Constitutional Court ruled that the City of Joburg’s housing policy was unconstitutional in the matter involving Blue Moonlight Properties 39 and a group of about 100 Berea residents facing eviction from the inner-city building in Saratoga Avenue.
The Concourt ruled that alternative accommodation be provided by the council for the residents by April 1, and that the residents be evicted from their homes by April 15, meaning a change in policy for the city.
But alternative accommodation has not yet been provided just two days before the eviction, and the council says it needs more time.
“The accommodation that can be made available needs substantial work before it is habitable,” said City of Joburg spokesman Gabu Tugwana.
He said the work would be finished by April 23 and residents could begin relocating on April 25.
“If it is not possible for the landowner to wait until then, the city will have to provide temporary shelter by way of tents and communal facilities in the area,” he said.
Tugwana said that since last year, the city had informed the Concourt that its resources and facilities were fully committed and that it was not in a position to accommodate the occupants, but had now made a plan to accommodate the evictees.
Centre for Applied Legal Studies director Bonita Meyersfeld said the case had become one of principle.