City of Johannesburg leaves 257 men, women and children out in the cold, despite court orders
The High Court has ordered the City of Johannesburg to accommodate 257 men, women and children who were yesterday evicted from Fattis Mansions at 66 Harrison Street, Johannesburg.
The residents of the property initially asked the High Court at an urgent hearing convened yesterday at 7pm, to return them to Fattis Mansions so that they could challenge the eviction order granted against them. Justice van der Linde ordered the City to accommodate the residents overnight while he considered his judgment. The City did not comply with that order, and residents spent the night out in the cold.
This morning Justice van der Linde refused to restore the residents to Fattis Mansions, on the basis that the property is not safe for occupation. The Judge nonetheless directed the City to provide the residents with emergency accommodation immediately, and more durable temporary accommodation within a week.
As of 3:00 pm on 20 July 2017, the City had not complied with either of his orders, both of which required the City to act immediately to accommodate the residents.
The eviction order was granted against the residents after a minority of the owners of the sectional title scheme that controlled the building appointed an administrator, who then sought to wind the scheme up. Citing the poor state of the property, the administrator also asked for an order evicting all the occupants of the property. The High Court granted that order in April 2017. Despite the fact that one of the residents then sought to appeal the judgment, the Sheriff evicted all of the residents on 19 July 2017, before that appeal was heard and determined.
Yesterday’s eviction was clearly illegal, both because no alternative accommodation was provided to Fattis Mansion’s needy residents, and because the eviction was executed while an appeal was pending.
Nomzamo Zondo, SERI’s director of litigation said: “While we appreciate Justice van der Linde’s concerns about the state of the property, the fact is that the residents of Fattis Mansions were safer in the building than they currently are on the streets. The City of Johannesburg is dragging its feet in complying with its court-ordered constitutional obligation to accommodate the residents, who remain, as of now, without any shelter at all. We call on the City of Johannesburg to do what is right and lawful: act now to house the residents.”
Nomzamo Zondo, SERI Director of Litigation: 071 301 9676 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Lindokuhle Mdabe, SERI Attorney: 063 514 5755 / email@example.com
Photo: Hundreds of residents of Fattis Mansions, a hijacked building in downtown Johannesburg, are facing a bleak, dark night out in the cold as they were evicted on Wednesday. Source: Sphelele Dludia/ANA Reporter.
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