Media: ‘Pavement dwellers’ case delayed

21 03 2009

March 20, 2009 Edition 2
Staff Reporter
Source: Cape Argus

The City of Cape Town has asked the Cape High Court for a postponement to allow families living on the pavement in Symphony Way in Delft to secure legal representation.

The two sides, with the the pavement dwellers referred to as the “persons who presently unlawfully occupy erf 5908, portion 12, Cape Town” and represented by Delft resident Ashraf Cassiem, faced off today over their occupation of city property.
The court heard that the City’s advocate, Robert Stelzner, had recommended legal representatives who Cassiem could contact to represent the Symphony Way residents.

Stelzner said: “We had attempted to call the Legal Aid Board but they said they could not assist because they were too understaffed and could assist only in urgent matters.”
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Cassiem said they were not “comfortable” with the city lawyers recommended by Stelzner. He said he had contacted Legal Aid and attorneys, but costs were “tremendous”.

Judge Francois Joubert had the matter stand down in order for Stelzner and Cassiem to negotiate the time period needed to allow Cassiem to secure legal assistance.

The Symphony Way shack dwellers have spent more than a year living on the pavement. They were served with eviction notices earlier this month and given 21 days to move.

The City has offered alternative land for occupation, about 1km away in Blikkiesdorp, but the residents have refused to move.

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