Thembelihle Village low-cost housing complex. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency(ANA)
Thembelihle Village low-cost housing complex. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency(ANA)

Lawyers for Human Rights to ask court for urgent order against rogue elements at Thembelihle Village

By Zelda Venter Time of article published Nov 19, 2020

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Pretoria - Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) will approach the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, for an urgent order against rogue elements causing trouble at the Thembelihle Village low-cost housing in the Pretoria CBD.

Louise du Plessis, a lawyer at Lawyers for Human Rights, said the court’s urgent intervention was necessary to save the complex from destruction and safeguard the lives of the innocent people living there, among them children.

She said Thembelihle was a housing structure for the poor and struggling community, and must be preserved for those innocent people who had no other place to call home.

The issue of violence escalating at Thembelihle, allegedly caused by a handful of rogue elements, has twice been before the courts during the harsher Covid-19 lockdown period.

Interdicts were issued against some of the perpetrators, but the matter landed back in court when the trouble continued and the troublemakers ignored the orders.

Du Plessis called on the court to this time deal harshly with the culprits to restore the peace. One of the orders LHR will ask for, is that the culprits be evicted.

The issue was also previously before the court, but the judge was reluctant to make an eviction order at the time.

Violence again flared up this week at the social housing units after the company which handles the electricity supply tried to disconnect some units due to non-payment.

Tensions flared and the SAPS reportedly shot four youngsters during protests by residents. The residents are complaining about allegedly overpaying for their electricity, and demand that prepaid electricity meters be installed so that they can control their usage.

One of the issues which subsequently emerged is that some of the residents are now illegally connecting their electricity, which poses a huge danger and fire risk, Du Plessis said.

The parties, however, were in talks for most of yesterday in a an effort to try to find a solution to the problems.

Du Plessis said that another court application was inevitable to try to obtain an order for the handful of troublemakers to toe the line.

Yeast City Housing, the non-profit company which manages the property, will, as before, launch the application with the assistance of Lawyers for Human Rights.

Thembelihle is a well-known social housing development providing affordable homes to vulnerable and low-income families.

It is home to at least 2 500 people.

The court earlier granted an interdict against two residents who Yeast felt were the main culprits.

They were interdicted from disturbing the peace and from intimidating and harming Yeast officials.

The court also ordered the police to intervene and to arrest those who did not adhere to the court order.

Yeast, however, had to turn to the court for a second time as the earlier court order was simply ignored by some of the residents, who called it “a fake document”.

As the violence is continuing, they hoped that it would be third time lucky if they again turned to court.

It is not yet clear when the matter will be in court.

Pretoria News

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