Illegal land occupiers want alternative shelters
EVICTED residents of Sterkloop farm along the Matlala Road outside Polokwane, Limpopo, are challenging the municipality to provide them with alternative accommodation.
But the municipality has rejected their plea, insisting that the court in issuing the eviction order did not mention that alternative accommodation must be provided.
“In our case, the Judge never said that we should provide them with alternative accommodation. That is why as the municipality we did not consider the issue of alternative accommodation. We had also given them a notice prior to the eviction and that they should relocate within the given dates. So, they failed to adhere to the notice along with the court order and we were forced to remove them as the municipality,” said Polokwane municipal spokesperson Desiree Manyane.
Former EFF ward councillorturned-community activist Len Meyer said:“The whole eviction saga started when most of the people occupying land were wrongfully evicted by the municipality. So, they later went and occupied another piece of land. On the first day the residents occupied the newly found land, they received notices from the municipality of the intention to evict them.
“That is when we opposed their decision and that was when the matter was taken to court and heard on the 12th of September [this year]. So, we went to court and the municipality asked once again to evict us of which the judge disagreed stating that she would like to hear the full story behind the matter. She had set the matter for the 13th of November, but the municipality brought an urgent application on the 24th of September.
“We were called to appear on the 26th (September) because they had brought an abbreviation on that order. But in court the lawyer representing the municipality said that they had informed the sheriff but the sheriff refused to assist them with the eviction. They did get their abbreviation but the court agreed that since the matter would be heard in November it would be wise that they wait for that upcoming appearance. On the 29th of September without telling the residents that they were going to evict, the municipality just started demolishing shacks.”
Meyer said that they were challenging the municipality because a number of families had been forced to sleep on the streets and that the evictions were in violation of the law.
“There is a judgement by the Constitutional Court that says that there should at least be an alternative accommodation for the evictees. I am now living with some evicted families in my house because I could not desert them, but some are now sleeping in the streets as they do not have places to stay,” said Meyer.