Johannesburg will comply with a court ruling to give temporary housing to people evicted from Chung Hua Mansions on Jeppe Street, the city said on Friday.
Steps had already been taken to provide temporary housing by the court-mandated date of January 30 next year and provide details by October 31 this year, spokesman Gabu Tugwana said.
He said the city started evictee registrations in compliance with earlier court orders. The High Court in Johannesburg handed down the judgment on Thursday.
“The affected individuals and families must be digitally enrolled on the city's social services to prepare for the process of relocation,” Tugwana said.
On Thursday, the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of SA (Seri) which represented the squatters in court, said the municipality's system of registering homeless people had broken down.
Spokesman Osmond Mngomezulu said the city admitted in court there had been a systemic breakdown in its registration process. He claimed the city had resisted providing temporary housing because it needed to “register” those occupying the building.
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.
Tugwana said the confusion cited in court came from merging people due for eviction from the private sector with other cases, resulting in a communication problem between municipality staff.
“This is a process issue that is being corrected, but describing this issue as evidence of systemic breakdown is an unfortunate misrepresentation.”
Tugwana said the municipality had long-term strategies to deal with eviction problems.
The squatters had their application to reverse their 2010
eviction from Chung Hua Mansions dismissed on August 20, 2010. The ruling was appealed and overturned by the high court on December 3, 2010, reversing the eviction. It held the building owners, private security company and police who assisted in the eviction in contempt of court.
The building owner appealed for leave to appeal the high court's decision, which was dismissed.
The owners applied for separate eviction order which was heard and ruled on on Thursday. - Sapa