/ 18 April 2012

Jo’burg gets more time to evict residents

The City of Johannesburg was given another two weeks to relocate residents about to be evicted from a private property in Berea, the residents’ attorney said on Wednesday.

“We received an order on Friday that the city has until April 30 to make this accommodation available,” said Kathleen Hardy of the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS). Our clients cannot be evicted until May 2.”

The City of Johannesburg confirmed that the occupants have until April 30 to apply for and move to the temporary shelter accommodation facilitated by the city.

“The city must ensure that the premises are ready for occupation by April 29 2012,” spokesperson Gabu Tugwana said in reply to e-mailed questions.

According to the order by the South Gauteng High Court, the city must confirm by April 23 that the accommodation will be ready.

It was anticipated that the people will move themselves to their new accommodation.

The Constitutional Court originally gave April 1 as the deadline for the city to start relocating people, and April 15 was set down as the date that anybody still living on the property in Saratoga Avenue could be evicted.

This was after property owner Blue Moonlight wanted the people living there moved so that the property could be developed.

Concourt sides with the people
The Constitutional Court found the city was responsible for moving the people who had been living on the stand and set the deadlines.

When it became evident that the city would not meet the April 1 deadline and that the group of people would be homeless, CALS went to the Constitutional Court in the hope of securing an extension to the deadlines to the middle of June.

The court dismissed the application so CALS approached the South Gauteng High Court and secured the reprieve.

“The situation has been a roller coaster and it is unfortunate that we have had to take the city back to court and the high court, but we have done it in the best interests of the clients,” Hardy said.

The city said it had identified accommodation for the more than 100 people who had to be moved, said Hardy.

But some alterations were required and clarity was needed on some of the details of the move, such as whether families would be able to stay together.

The city and CALS would meet on Wednesday afternoon to continue discussions on the matter. — Sapa