Cape Town - The surprise “eleventh hour” application by a Joburg NPO opposing the City’s application to serve eviction notices on homeless people living in the CBD, has knocked the wind out their sails as litigation is further delayed.
The City said the notice to oppose from NGO Socio Economic Rights Institute (SERI) “disappointed” them as it now delayed action by several months.
It was expecting the court to consider granting a final eviction order on Wednesday, but the hearing was postponed until early October.
This comes after the City was granted an application in the Western Cape High Court last month to serve eviction notices in hopes of removing homeless people from about 10 locations in the CBD.
The areas include FW de Klerk Boulevard, Foregate Square, Taxi Rank and Foreshore, Helen Suzman Boulevard, Strand Street, Foreshore/N1, Virginia Avenue and Mill Street Bridge in the city.
SERI did not respond to enquiries by deadline on Wednesday.
Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said: “We are very disappointed at the extremely late notice to oppose, which was filed by SERI well beyond the deadline which allowed over a month for such notice to be filed.
“With the court roll so full, a late filing such as this not only wastes state resources, but causes severe delays in the hearing of the matter.
“In the City’s view, the net effect of this will be to keep people on the streets much longer through the Cape winter.
“The City welcomes any constructive engagement on our plan to increase dignified transitional shelter and help more people off the streets, with court assistance where necessary.
“The City remains of the view that no person has the right to reserve a public space as exclusively theirs, while indefinitely refusing all offers of shelter and social assistance.
“Our city’s public places serve important social and community purposes, and must be open and available for all.
“Illegal occupations of City open spaces impact the safety of traffic and pedestrians, as well as local businesses critical to growing the economy,” said Hill-Lewis.