SAPA: Symphony pavement dwellers get reprieve

9 06 2009

Published: 6/9/2009 13:29:20

Source: The Citizen

CAPE TOWN – There were cries of “hallelujah” in the Cape High Court on Tuesday when pavement-dwellers from Delft on the Cape Flats won a reprieve in their fight against eviction.Acting Judge Jake Moloi “reluctantly” granted their request for a postponement of the eviction application, which was supposed to be argued on Tuesday.

He ruled instead that the matter be heard on September 3, and ordered 139 families facing eviction to file answering papers by June 30.

So far they had filed nothing, and the court did not know whether their opposition to the eviction was valid or frivolous, he said.

The application was brought by the City of Cape Town, acting on behalf of the Western Cape provincial government.

The families are among those who illegally occupied newly-completed homes in Delft intended for beneficiaries of the N2 Gateway project.

When they were evicted in February last year, they chose to erect shelters on the pavement of Symphony Way, rather than move to rudimentary corrugated-iron homes offered in a temporary settlement area nicknamed Blikkiesdorp.

The families did not have legal representation on Tuesday.

Instead, the bid for the postponement was argued on their behalf by Ashraf Cassiem of the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign.

“I’m happy that the court is finally listening to poor people who cannot afford legal representation,” he told Sapa afterwards.

He said the families wanted to be evicted, but to proper homes, not a temporary relocation area.

“We will willingly go today if they make that proposal,” he said.

About 50 pavement-dwellers and their supporters, closely watched by police, attended the hearing.

They applauded when Moloi announced his decision, ululated, whistled and shouted.

– Sapa

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