Court victory for KZN hostel kids
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Durban - Mothers living at the “women only” Thokoza Hostel secured a court victory on Wednesday, getting an interdict stopping the eThekwini Municipality from preventing their 24 children, and a baby yet to be born, from living with them.
In terms of the order granted by Durban High Court Judge Johan Ploos van Amstel, guards at the hostel cannot bar access to the children.
For many, it will be the first time that they will be able to freely attend school and live openly with their mothers and guardians.
The children went to court on Wednesday with their mothers to hear the outcome of the urgent application which was launched with the assistance of the Durban’s Legal Resource Centre.
Advocate Sandile Kuboni, for the city, told the judge that his client was prepared to give an undertaking that the children would be allowed to stay, citing “overcrowding” as one of the reasons why there had been attempts to bar them.
He said there were separate legal proceedings to evict some of the residents of the hostel, but none were the applicants in the present matter.
But advocate Sarah Jane Linscott, for the mothers, persisted with her application for an interdict, saying similar undertakings given in the past had not been complied with.
Judge Ploos van Amstel agreed, noting that the city was not entitled to prevent any resident from leaving or entering the hostel without bringing proper eviction proceedings.
He said it was “easier to bring contempt proceedings” if there was an interdict in place. The interdict would remain in place until the finalisation of a related application challenging the “no kids” policy, saying it was an affront to the constitutional rights of the mothers and their children and should be reviewed and set aside.
The mothers, in their court application, claimed they had to hide and smuggle the children past the guards. They lived in constant fear that they would not be allowed back in. They said there had been at least three occasions when access was denied, and twice they had managed to sneak the children back in.
The municipality is opposing the review application, but has not filed any papers yet.
However, in a document before the court, the hostel’s superintendent, Siyabonga Mkhize, said the hostel building was unsuitable for children and was overcrowded.
Mkhize said there were plans to upgrade the building into “family units”.