Court decision on Wynberg evictions postponed
Friday 22 April 2005 by Dale
EVICTION CASE OF NEARLY 1000 WYNBERG RESIDENTS HELD OVER AGAIN UNTIL TUESDAY 26TH @ 10H00 AS DEVELOPERS SUFFER BLOW DUE TO CONTRADICTORY ARGUMENTS ON ZONING REGULATIONS
CITY OF JOHANNESBURG FAILS TO APPEAR IN COURT WHILE CLAIMING THEY CAN DO NOTHING FOR THE POOREST OF THE POOR WHO THEY ALSO CLAIM TO REPRESENT
The case for the urgent eviction of nearly 1000 poor Wynberg residents, being brought by the land owners and shopping centre developer - Alexandra Plaza PTY (Ltd.) - has been held over a second time until Tuesday 26th April at 10h00 in the Johannesburg High Court. This is the result of seriously contradictory arguments made by counsel for the land owners/developers in respect of zoning regulations governing the disused buildings where the residents live.
Having based their entire case for eviction on the argument that the area had, for decades, been explicitly zoned for non-residential use, counsel for the applicants were confronted with concrete evidence to the contrary by counsel for the residents. The applicants then introduced a letter from the City of Johannesburg showing that they had only recently applied for the land to be re-zoned so as to preclude any residential usage - thus contradicting the very basis for their earlier arguments.
In a desperate move to extricate themselves, counsel for the applicants then attempted to argue that the re-zoning application was final despite the fact that no such re-zoning can be finalised without proper Council procedures and a set period for public notification/response. Correctly, the Judge ordered that the case be held over yet again inorder for counsel for the residents to answer/address these matters.
What is becoming crystal clear in this case, is that the land owners/developers, ANC politicians and the City of Johannesburg will go to any length to secure the eviction of poor residents for their own selfish political and economic interests. The City of Johannesburg, ordered to appear in court yesterday to address the issue of alternative land/accomodation for the residents, showed its contempt and insensitivity by sending in a one paragraph fax stating that no alternative land or accomodation existed for the poorest of the poor. This, despite repeated promises and high profile propaganda over the years, by both the ANC-dominated City Council and local/national ANC politicians, that the Alexandra Renewal Project is designed specifically to assist, and uplift the lives of, such poor residents.
What other conclusion can one come to other than that the poorest of the poor (as the Wynberg residents are) have been effectively abandoned by those in power, who claim to represent them but who are in bed with capitalist land owners and developers. It is this reality that has meant that the residents of Wynberg must now fight to remain in their dilapidated homes rather than be tossed out into the streets - if they have nowhere else to go then where should the blame lie for a situation where poor people are being forced to fight to retain what little they do have? If these poor residents cannot secure their most basic human and constitutional entitlements/rights throught the last legal avenue available - the court/justice system - then they will be left with no other option but to engage in a legitimate mass struggle inorder to realise them
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION/COMMENT CONTACT: Simon Delaney (Attorney for residents) on 083 397-0057 or Dale McKinley (APF) on 072 429-4086