Fattis’ residents moved to Wembley Stadium
After a confusing and uncomfortable time, residents have temporary respite
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
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.