Summons to be issued to CoCT to force officials to meet with MPs over evictions

The police portfolio committee said it was concerned by what it calls the municipality's flagrant disregard for its oversight role adding it's undermining the Constitution.

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 City of Cape Town (CoCT) will be issued with a summons to force municipal officials to meet with Members of Parliament about land evictions.

The police portfolio committee said it was concerned by what it calls the municipality's flagrant disregard for its oversight role adding it's undermining the Constitution.

It wants Mayor Dan Plato and his team to account for an eviction carried out in early July.

The initial invite was sent on 13 August. But, apparently, City bosses turned down the request to meet.

The committee said while it accepted the City has appeared before other committees in Parliament, it still wanted to hear from officials about issues relating to policing.

Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town said it would continue to act to prevent land occupations until a recent court ruling has been reviewed.

The Western Cape High Court has granted an interim interdict that stops the City from carrying out evictions without a court order for the duration of the state of disaster.

The court challenge was brought by the Human Rights Commission, the Legal Resource Centre, and others, following several controversial evictions.

The City said it will appeal the ruling because it sets a dangerous precedent and makes it almost impossible to protect property from unlawful occupation.

The legal resource center's Sherylle Dass disagrees.

"It doesn't strip away the property rights of landowners and secondly it doesn't prevent a landowner from seeking an eviction order or demolishing a structure."

The Western Cape High Court has ruled the City, it's land invasion unit or any private contractors - can't evict people or take down shacks - whether occupied or not - while the state of disaster is in place - unless they have a court order.

The ruling states if any evictions are legally executed - authorities must act with respect for the dignity of those being evicted.

The judgement also prohibits authorities from using excessive force or confiscating material which belong to evictees.

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