Symphony Way Granted Temporary Reprieve; Eviction Postponed in High Court

21 03 2009

Delft Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Release
20 March, 2009

Click here for photos

(See end of release for information on the Judge’s order)

Residents of Symphony Way won a temporary reprieve from forcible eviction in the Cape High Court today.

Families gathered on the steps of the court, carrying signs that read: “We need houses for our kids,” and “Give us what is rightfully ours!!! Houses!!!”

The City of Cape Town is seeking the removal of 127 families from self-made shacks to tin, emergency shelters in the Delft Temporary Relocation Area, known as ‘Blikkiesdorp’ (Tin-Can Town).

The families said they will not go to Blikkies: “We will only move when we get keys to proper houses.”

Justice Joubert, whom residents noted was fair and considerate, ordered a postponement for 9 June 2009.  The state attorney requested that the community be given a considerably shorter period of three weeks to prepare their case.

AEC Chairperson, Ashraf Cassim, represented Symphony Way in court.  Cassim explained to the judge that residents needed time to raise funds and secure appropriate legal representation.

Cassim also informed the court that numerous advocates acting on a pro bono basis through the Law Society had previously represented the state.  The judge questioned the state advocate on this point, noting that it presented a potential conflict of interest.

About postponement, Evelyn, a Symphony resident, said, “Today’s answer gives us strength and gives us hope.  We must believe in ourselves.”
Kareemah added, “I think we could have gotten a longer period of time to get our own lawyers, but it is the best the court could do.  We now will work and fight for what we want.”

The state is seeking legal costs from the respondents, which some said was a measure of intimidating the poor from seeking redress in the courts.

The families have been living on Symphony Way since the City violently evicted them in February last year, leaving them on the pavement without alternative accommodation.

Residents wish to add that political parties, including COPE and the ANC, recently have been visiting Symphony Way, offering money and even legal representation.

The community has refused to be supported by political parties: “They are not here for the thirteen months we have been on the pavement.  Now it is the election, and every other day, there’s a party here.  They have hidden agendas.  It is because of a political party, the DA, that we are sitting here on the pavement.  Now, the DA wants to evict us for the second time.  They put us in this mess.”

Residents now say they will prepare for their next court date to oppose this second, attempted eviction by the City.

Contact:
Mncedisi Plaatjies 079 305 1066
Kareemah Linneveldt 078 492 0943

The following is the order by Justice Joubert postponing the case:

IN THE HIGH COURT OF SOUTH AFRICA
(WESTERN CAPE HIGH COURT, CAPE TOWN)

CASE NO: 3397/09

Cape Town, 20 March 2009
Before the Honorable Mr Acting Justice Joubert

In the application of:

THE CITY OF CAPE TOWN         Applicant

and

THE PERSONS WHO ARE PRESENTLY UNLAWFULLY OCCUPYING ERF 508, PORTION 12, CAPE TOWN      First Respondents

ASHRAF CASSIEM      Second Respondent

1.  The application is postponed for hearing in Fourth Division to 9 June 2009;
2. Respondents are to file their answering affidavits by 8 May 2009;
3. Applicant is to file its replying affidavit by 19 May 2009;
4. Applicant is to file its Heads of Argument by 26 May 2009;
5.  Respondent is to file it Heads of Argument by 2 June 2009;
6.  The costs of today are to stand over for later determination.

BY ORDER
REGISTRAR

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21 03 2009



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