/ 15 January 2008

Delft eviction case postponed again

The Cape High Court on Tuesday again postponed the Delft eviction case — the application will now take place on January 29.

The court furthermore urged Democratic Alliance city councillor Frank Martin to engage a lawyer to represent him in proceedings for the urgent eviction of hundreds of homeless backyard dwellers who are alleged to have illegally occupied incomplete homes in Delft on the Cape Flats.

The homes, still under construction, are intended for residents at the Joe Slovo informal settlement, who are to be relocated to Delft.

Martin currently faces criminal charges in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court for the alleged incitement of shack dwellers in Delft to illegally move into the homes still under construction.

This resulted in an urgent application in the Cape High Court on January 3, when Judge Deon van Zyl postponed the case to January 15.

However, due to the complexity of the issues, the judge again postponed the application to January 29.

The eviction application was launched jointly by the Western Cape provincial minister for local government and housing, state housing contractors Thubelisha Homes, Seakay Engineering Services and Trans Gariep Infra.

The application was launched against the ”various unlawful occupiers of houses at Delft Symphony”, the City of Cape Town and Martin himself.

The judge told Martin that his name featured in the papers before the court, which contained serious allegations (about his alleged incitement of homeless people to illegally occupy the incomplete homes).

The judge also told Martin his behaviour had exposed him to both criminal and civil sanctions.

He warned Martin: ”I do not believe you had authority from the City of Cape Town to act as you did, and I must caution you not to further incite the illegal occupation of homes.”

As proceedings got under way, hundreds of alleged illegal occupiers filled the street outside the court building, chanting loudly.

Present in court, seated in the front bench intended for lawyers, was Ashraf Cassiem, chairperson of the informal Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign.

Asked about his presence in court, he said he had a mandate from 1 600 households in Delft.

The judge asked him on what bases he had been mandated, and Cassiem said he had training in the application of the Prevention of Illegal Evictions Act.

Van Zyl said only lawyers, or people not legally represented, were allowed to address the court.

Van Zyl said Cassiem was free to address the court on his own behalf, but not on behalf of others. — Sapa