File picture: Johannesburg will comply with a court ruling to give temporary housing to people evicted from Chung Hua Mansions on Jeppe Street. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)

The City of Johannesburg's process of registering homeless people has broken down, the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of SA (Seri) said on Thursday.

Spokesman Osmond Mngomezulu said the city admitted in the High Court in Johannesburg there was a systemic breakdown in its registration process.

This emerged during court proceedings brought by Changing Tides 74 (Pty) Ltd when it applied for the eviction of 181 adults and 17 children living in its building.

Mngomezulu said the judge ordered the city to provide them with temporary shelter, where they would be “secure against eviction”.

He claimed the city had resisted this on the basis it needed to “register” those occupying the building.

“However, it conceded in court that its registration process does not work.”

He said a result of this was that homeless people were unable to register for accommodation.

“It has also conceded that there is still no policy for the provision of alternative accommodation to people evicted by private property owners.”

Seri's attorney Teboho Mosikili, acting for the squatters, said the city was in breach of its constitutional obligations to the poor.

“The city is clearly not interested in engaging with the poor and continues to marginalise them.”

The city was not immediately available to comment. - Sapa