Pretoria - Evicted residents of the Schubart Park flats in Pretoria central could soon re-occupy the premises after the Constitutional Court ruled that their removal was illegal.
On Tuesday, the court judgment ordered the City of Tshwane and the residents to “engage meaningfully with one another and to report to the High Court on their progress”.
“It is now more than a year after the residents were removed from their homes. Finding out who they were, where they are, and what they still need to re-occupy their homes (that) will require co-operation between them and the City,” part of the judgment read.
“The residents are entitled to the occupation of their homes as soon as is reasonably possible,” read another part of the ruling.
The metro municipality, owners of the buildings, was ordered to pay the residents' costs in the High Court (for earlier litigation processes) and in the Constitutional Court.
The superior court set aside earlier orders of the High Court, given in September 2011, and that of the Supreme Court.
Following the September evictions, the residents unsuccessfully approached the High Court in Pretoria seeking an urgent court order against the City of Tshwane. The order would have allowed them to re-occupy the complex.
The High Court dismissed their application, but ordered the municipality to offer alternative accommodation.
The residents of the complex then sought leave to appeal against the decision and judgment of the High Court. The High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal refused the applicants leave to appeal the judgment.
On Tuesday, the Constitutional Court upheld their appeal.
The municipality had argued that the complex was an unsafe living environment, an opinion that was based on expert advice.
The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of SA (SERI) also entered the legal battle as a friend of the court.
SERI argued the removal of the residents was unlawful and the City had not provided enough alternative accommodation. - Sapa