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Decision on City of Cape Town’s eviction policy could be made soon

The applicants are asking the court to interdict the City from demolishing structures without court oversight for the duration of the national state of disaster.

A screengrab from a video taken on 1 July 2020 in which Cape Town law enforcement officials evict a naked man from his Empolweni home in Khayelitsha.

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape High Court hopes to soon deliver a ruling or, at least an order, on a matter challenging the City of Cape Town’s eviction policy.

The application was brought by the Legal Resources Centre, the South African Human Rights Commission and the Economic Freedom Fighters following the forced removal of a Khayelitsha man while naked last month.

The applicants are asking the court to interdict the City from demolishing structures without court oversight for the duration of the national state of disaster.

The applicants argue the City acts arbitrarily when choosing which structures are demolished and therefore judicial oversight is needed.

The City, however, said it would be almost impossible for landowners to protect their property from unlawful occupation if the interdict is granted.

Legal counsel for the city, Sean Rosenberg, argues further if this interdict is granted, it may require the prevention of illegal evictions act to be expanded to include those in the process of occupying.

Advocate for the applicants, Norman Arendse, has replied saying it is not necessary for the court to consider that implication given the evidence provided. as well as the poor conduct of City officials during anti-land invasion operations.

Legal counsel for the EFF, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi argues there is a lack of clarity in the City’s eviction policy. This interim interdict is needed to regulate the City's power in acting against land occupations.

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