Khayelitsha resident Bulelani Qolani says he is still in physical pain as a result of the assault by law enforcement officers. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
Khayelitsha resident Bulelani Qolani says he is still in physical pain as a result of the assault by law enforcement officers. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

City of Cape Town vows to challenge interdict on evictions

By Marvin Charles Time of article published Aug 27, 2020

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has vowed to appeal against a temporary high court ruling which would require a court order to carry out evictions.

Mayor Dan Plato said: “I have instructed the City’s legal team to appeal against the Western Cape High Court’s order granting an interdict removing the City’s right to protect property from land invasion.”

Plato said the granting of an interdict preventing the City from conducting any counter-spoliation to protect public land without a court order went far beyond what the Constitution and the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land (PIE) Act allowed.

The judgment was made on Tuesday after an application was brought by the Legal Resource Centre (LRC) on behalf of the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), Housing Assembly and Bulelani Qolani, the man who was dragged out of his shack naked by City officials.

Judge Yasmin Meer confirmed that the City and its anti-land invasion unit were interdicted from demolishing or evicting anyone from any dwelling while the national state of disaster relating to the Covid-19 pandemic was in place, unless they had obtained a court order.

Should officials be in possession of a court order, they had to act in a manner that protected the dignity of those whose dwellings were being demolished.

The City argued that it had only demolished unoccupied structures during the lockdown, but the court criticised the municipality for allowing its officials to determine by sight alone whether dwellings were occupied.

The City has also been interdicted from adjudicating and awarding a tender for the demolition of “illegal and informal structures” in the Cape Metropole.

Ndifuna Ukwazi community organiser Buhle Booi said: “The judgment is a victory for us. Their (the City's) attempt to appeal against this is a direct attack on the poor and they want to have control outside of the law. People cannot wait forever on a waiting list.”

LRC spokesperson Thabo Ramphobole said: “The judgment and interim relief vindicates our clients, and our role in bringing this application It provides a temporary reprieve for people like Mr Qolani...”

Cape Argus

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