Fat­tis’ res­i­dents moved to Wem­b­ley Sta­dium

Af­ter a con­fus­ing and un­com­fort­able time, res­i­dents have tem­po­rary respite

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - ANNA COX anna.cox@inl.co.za

THE 257 peo­ple evicted from Fat­tis Man­sions last week, which led to the clo­sure of sev­eral roads in the CBD as res­i­dents and their fur­ni­ture were strewn across the road, have been re­lo­cated to tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion at the Wem­b­ley Sta­dium.

Tents have been erected and wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion pro­vided for the peo­ple of the al­legedly hijacked build­ing who spent a few nights on the pave­ment and street af­ter they were evicted on Wed­nes­day.

Men, women and chil­dren from Fat­tis Man­sions were forced to sit out­side on the streets with all their be­long­ings as the sher­iff of the South Gaut­eng High Court ex­e­cuted an order, as­sisted by the Red Ants, to evict them.

The build­ing, dubbed “mnya­mandowo”, on the cor­ner of Jeppe and Har­ri­son streets, had no elec­tric­ity or wa­ter, and no ablu­tion fa­cil­i­ties for years. Se­cu­rity guards have been posted to bar en­trance into the build­ing.

The res­i­dents launched an ur­gent court in­ter­dict at 6pm on the same day against the evic­tions.

The high court or­dered the City of Jo­han­nes­burg to ac­com­mo­date the 257 res­i­dents who were evicted from the build­ing at 66 Har­ri­son Street, Joburg.

The So­cio-Eco­nomic Rights In­sti­tute (Seri) said the res­i­dents of the prop­erty ini­tially asked the high court at an ur­gent hear­ing con­vened at 7pm, to re­turn them to Fat­tis Man­sions so that they could chal­lenge the evic­tion order granted against them. Judge WHG van der Linde or­dered the city to ac­com­mo­date the res­i­dents overnight while he con­sid­ered his judg­ment. The city did not com­ply with that order and res­i­dents spent the night out in the cold.

Late week, Judge van der Linde re­fused to re­store the res­i­dents to Fat­tis Man­sions, on the ba­sis that the prop­erty is not safe for oc­cu­pa­tion, said Nomzamo Zondo, SERI’s di­rec­tor of lit­i­ga­tion. The judge nonethe­less di­rected the city to pro­vide the res­i­dents with emer­gency ac­com­mo­da­tion im­me­di­ately, and more durable tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion within a week.

As of 3pm on 20 July 2017, the city had not com­plied with ei­ther of his or­ders, both of which re­quired the city to act im­me­di­ately to ac­com­mo­date the res­i­dents.

“The evic­tion order was granted against the res­i­dents af­ter a mi­nor­ity of the own­ers of the sec­tional ti­tle scheme that con­trolled the build­ing ap­pointed an ad­min­is­tra­tor, who then sought to wind the scheme up. Cit­ing the poor state of the prop­erty, the ad­min­is­tra­tor also asked for an order evict­ing all the oc­cu­pants of the prop­erty. The high court granted that order in April 2017. De­spite the fact that one of the res­i­dents then sought to ap­peal the judg­ment, the sher­iff evicted all of the res­i­dents on July 19, 2017, be­fore that ap­peal was heard and de­ter­mined.

“This evic­tion was clearly il­le­gal, both be­cause no al­ter­na­tive ac­com­mo­da­tion was pro­vided to Fat­tis Man­sion’s needy res­i­dents, and be­cause the evic­tion was ex­e­cuted while an ap­peal was pend­ing,” said Zondo.

“While we ap­pre­ci­ate Judge van der Linde’s con­cerns about the state of the prop­erty, the fact is that the res­i­dents of Fat­tis Man­sions were safer in the build­ing than they cur­rently are on the streets. The City of Joburg is drag­ging its feet in com­ply­ing with its court-or­dered con­sti­tu­tional obli­ga­tion to ac­com­mo­date the res­i­dents, who re­main, as of now, with­out any shel­ter at all. We call on the city to do what is right and law­ful: act now to house the res­i­dents,” said Zondo.

A city spokesman con­firmed that the res­i­dents and their fur­ni­ture had been moved to Wem­b­ley.

Safer in the build­ing than on the streets

PIC­TURES: BHEKIKHAYA MABASO AND NOKUTHULA MBATHA

BE­FORE AND AF­TER: Res­i­dents of Fat­tis Man­sions on the cor­ner of Har­ri­son and Jeppe streets in Joburg CBD af­ter they were evicted last week for il­le­gally oc­cu­py­ing the build­ing. Yes­ter­day, the area was de­serted af­ter the peo­ple were given tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion.

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