More than 50 people are living in tents along pavements in Observatory. Picture: Sisonke Mlamla / Cape Argus
More than 50 people are living in tents along pavements in Observatory. Picture: Sisonke Mlamla / Cape Argus

‘Court exposes how inhumane the City of Cape Town is towards the poor’

By Odwa Mkentane Time of article published May 22, 2020

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Cape Town – A group of occupants at 414 Arcadia House, Main Road in Observatory, have celebrated victory after the Western Cape High Court interdicted the City from evicting the residents calling themselves Singabalapha.

Judge Robert Henney granted the urgent interim interdict at close to midnight on Wednesday.

It prevents the City from harassing the residents and removing their property. The case will be heard again in the high court on June 3.

Their legal representative Lucien Lewin of law firm Dingley Marshall said: “It was the right outcome, given that the City was attempting to evict people residing in an informal settlement without following due process, and in violation of the lockdown regulations.”

The resident had told the Cape Times they were recently harassed by the City’s Law Enforcement officers, forcing them to sign fines of R300 per person or R1 000 per person and threatened to be evicted by yesterday morning. 

The group consists of people from Langa, Gugulethu, Nyanga East and Khayelitsha.

Singabalapha secretary Sinazo Jordan said: “We are happy the court has ruled against the City.

"We were worried about a place to sleep because the City was not going to find a temporary place for us. We have children who are as young as 12 years.

"The court has exposed how inhumane the City is towards the poor. It should stop harassing people who are homeless and instead offer us a place to stay and sleep. As Singabalapha there is no way we are going back to a place like Strandfontein where people are treated less of a human.”

Safety and Security executive director Richard Bosman said the City would abide by the contents of the interim order. “The City cannot comment on this matter as the sub judice rule applies,” said Bosman.

The interim order was granted a day after the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) threatened legal action against the City, claiming officials unlawfully evicted residents of an Ocean View informal settlement. 

"The LRC said the land on which residents’ homes were erected was owned by the Ocean View Development Trust. They gave the City until Wednesday to return the building material for re-erecting the structures."

Cape Times

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