Garsfontein’s Plastic View residents get new hope for relocation
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Pretoria - A judge has been appointed as judicial manager to try to find a final solution to the lengthy saga regarding the relocation of Plastic View informal settlement residents.
Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, Judge Dawie Fourie will be the legal officer who will look at all the previous orders and engage with the stakeholders to eventually try to lay the matter to rest.
The matter has been ongoing for 14 years and there have been 17 court orders during that time.
The appointment of a judicial officer came after a request by the legal representative of the various homeowners associations around Plastic View, east of the city.
Lawyer Mariza Oelofse, who represents many of the associations, said they desperately wanted to find a workable solution for both the home owners as well as those Plastic View residents who are legitimately in the country and entitled to alternative housing.
Meadow Glen Homeowners Association and others in the area wrote a letter to Judge President Dunstan Mlambo asking that a judicial case manager be appointed to oversee the previous orders and find a long-term solution to the housing needs of those residents legitimately in Plastic View and to resolve the impasse in this ongoing saga.
They asked that the various branches of government, including the Police, Defence and Military Veterans, Human Settlements and Home Affairs departments be roped in to find a sensible solution to “humanely” deal with the issues.
The matter came before court for the first time in 2006 when a judge ordered that informal dwellers illegally living on land in the area had to be moved to a demarcated area, now known as Plastic View. That judge ordered there should be control measures in place to ensure no more people moved in until a long-term solution was found.
Over the past 14 years, the informal settlement has expanded and now houses about 15000 people. It is said that many, if not most, are illegally in the country.
Various concerns arose for residents in the area. These included health and security issues. The densely populated settlement has also been hit by many shack fires.
While there have been many legal orders over the years, no practical solution has been found.
Oelofse welcomed that a judge had now been appointed to oversee the matter and to try to find a practical solution. She said she accepted that those who qualify can remain in the area if the City of Tshwane’s plans for a mixed housing development work. The home owners, however, want an amicable solution found for all.
The City of Tshwane last month confirmed that it still had plans to develop a mixed-residential development. It was also confirmed that the City would work with the Department of Home Affairs to address the issue of undocumented foreign nationals.
The City said it had appointed a service provider to establish the township - to be known as Pretorius Park Extension 40 - which would accommodate 853 families from Plastic View.
Lawyers for Human Rights, which has been overseeing the legal rights of the informal dwellers from the start, is happy a judge is set to oversee the process to try to find a solution.
Lawyer Louise du Plessis said the answers did not lie with the court, but with the concerned parties who should sit around a table and come up with a workable solution.
She said what should be addressed was that the City had to make land available for the needy.