AEC: Symphony Way wins reprieve despite City’s efforts to undermine our right to a fair trial

Symphony Way wins reprieve despite City’s efforts to undermine our right to a fair trial

9 June 2009

The Symphony Way Pavement Dwellers have won their first battle in the quest for adequate decent public housing.

We have said publicly, over and over again, that: we do not want to occupy Symphony Way. We will gladly move if we are permitted to move to houses which are safe, clean, and adequate to our families’ needs.

But Blikkiesdorp is not a community with houses but a community with blikkies (tin can shacks). It is not adequate, nor is it clean or safe.

We thank the Honorable High Court for a rare instance where the courts have actually upheld the Constitution of this country in support of the poor. The Judge Jake Moloi noted that one cannot overlook Section 34 of the South African Constitution which states that:

Everyone has the right to have any dispute that can be resolved by the application of law decided in a fair public hearing before a court.

The advocate of the applicant (the City of Cape Town) tried to deny us of our constitutional right to a fair trial by attempting to prevent Symphony Way residents from introducing legal representation.

Because we are poor, we have struggled to raise money to pay the expensive fees of a lawyer and advocate. In South Africa, there is no such thing as equality because the poor cannot afford to build houses or buy land and also cannot afford to defend themselves against evictions from land and housing.

The calendar of the case to be argued is as follows:

The reply affidavit of the respondents is due on the 30 June, 2009
The replying affidavit of the applicant is due on the 16 July, 2009
The heads of argument for the applicants are due on 30 July, 2009
The heads of argument for the respondents are due on the 30 August, 2009
The hearing has been postponed until the 3rd of September, 2009
This is the final postponement.

The Case for adequate housing and against the TRAs:

In this case, the City of Cape Town is also trying to denying us of our constitutional rights laid out in Section 26 of the Constitution:

Everyone has the right to have access to adequate housing…No one may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished, without an order of court made after considering all the relevant circumstances.

And again contradicting Section 6.3 of the 1998 PIE Act which states that:

In deciding whether it is just and equitable to grant an order for eviction, the court must have regard to…the availability to the unlawful occupier of suitable alternative accommodation.

There is nothing just and equitable about putting any human being in a TRA like Blikkiesdorp. After visiting Blikkiesdorp and considering all the relevant circumstances (such as safety and other basic needs) one will realise that the accommodation is clearly unsuitable for any human being. If you are unsure, go visit for yourself.

For more information, contact:

Kareemah at 0784920943
Jane at 0784031302
Evelyn at 0763317624
Ashraf at 0761861408