Judgment reserved in Tafelberg appeal hearing
Cape Town - A high court judge has said the provincial government is split on the Tafelberg issue between a faction that wants change but keeps being rebuffed by a faction that wants to retain the status quo.
Judge Patrick Gamble was speaking during a hearing at which Reclaim the City (RTC) and Ndifuna Ukwazi (NU) returned to the Western Cape High Court to argue against the Province and the City’s applications to appeal against what is now known as “the Tafelberg judgment” before the Supreme Court of Appeal.
In August last year the high court handed down a ground-breaking judgment in the Tafelberg case, with far-reaching implications for the use of well-located public land to “urgently address apartheid’s shameful and divisive legacy of spatial injustice and manifest inequality”.
On Friday, Judge Gamble said that there was disunity in the Provincial government about Tafelberg and that these disagreements almost followed racial lines.
Judge Gamble said: “There are two camps in the Province, those pushing for change and those who say things like there can be no RDP in the CBD.”
Judge Gamble spoke after Ndifuna Ukwazi advocate, Peter Hathorn SC, argued that that there was no denying that the Province and the City were not working together on the development of housing.
After a nearly seven hour court session, Judge Gamble said: “This is a very important case, with a massive record. It requires careful consideration. I therefore reserve judgment until towards the end of the second quarter of the year.”
The second quarter of the year ends in June.
During the hearing, Eduard Fagan, the advocate representing the Province said: “The judges made a mistake by relying on legislation in reaching its decision rather than on the constitutional rights to housing and to gain access to land on an equitable basis.”
Appearing for the City, Nazreen Bawa argued that the City has no legal obligation to address spatial apartheid by providing social housing in central Cape Town.
Bawa said: “However, there is a constitutional obligation to take reasonable legal and other measures to allow people to gain access to land on an equitable basis.”
Remarking on the hearing, ANC provincial human settlements spokesperson Andile Lili said: “Credible organisations like Ndifuna Ukwazi and others must continue to expose our government be it from local municipalities or the Western Cape provincial government.”
Lili said: “My message to them is aluta continua, they must keep up the pressure and do their work without fear or favour.”