Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court on Friday granted Denel an interim order evicting land invaders who this week occupied land in Khayelistha that belongs to the state-owned arms manufacturer.
Judge Monde Samela explained to the land invaders, who appeared in court without legal representation, that it allowed them until the return date of April 21 to find lawyers to argue their case.
“I explained to them that effectively I am sitting on the fence (in granting an interim order),” he said after allowing the respondents, some of who wore shirts bearing the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) logo, to ask him questions to clarify their legal position.
“In isiXhosa, one who sits on the fence is a monkey. So he told me I am a monkey and I said he must be careful now,” Samela chuckled as he translated the exchange to Denel’s lawyers.
On Monday, some 250 people seized land near Nolungile train station in Khayelitsha and began building shacks. The EFF said they were facilitating the process.
Police intervened and Denel, in a first urgent court application, obtained an interdict preventing the erection of further structures on the contested land.
Denel’s legal team on Friday told the court they were seeking the second order to maintain the status quo at the site, which most of the invaders left after their structures were removed, and to gain added protection should there be a fresh attempt to invade the land.
They said they would bring more substantiating documentation on April 1.
Regional EFF official Tlhabanelo Diholo said the party would try to assist the squatters with finding lawyers but did not have money for the legal fees in the party coffers.
“We are not steering this process, we have just tried to assist the community wherever we can,” he said.
After the order was granted some 30 Khayelitsha residents sang protest songs outside the court building.
Student Vugile Thando held a poster proclaiming: “People of Azania take back your land, the rest will follow.”
He said he was not a member of the EFF but was among the roughly 250 people who had invaded the land at the beginning of the week and began building shacks.
“I’m from Khayelitsha site C. I took all my materials and my sleeping bag and they broke it all down and now I’m homeless again.”