Twenty-eight female guards were unfairly dismissed by a security company because the client‚ Metrora.
Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi and Kingdom Mabuza
In a ground-breaking decision the constitutional court (concourt) yesterday ruled in favour of tenants facing eviction.
William Mailula, the owner of a block of flats - Angus Mansions at 66Jeppe Street in central Johannesburg - had been granted an interim eviction order by the Johannesburg court recently.
But the concourt has now suspended the interim eviction order until the matter is heard by the supreme court of appeal.
About 60 families living in the flats were facing eviction on December 15.
"We are happy that we will celebrate Christmas in our flats and not on the streets as the owner wished," said one jubilant resident, Elizabeth Dladla.
She said they had sleepless nights knowing that they were going to be evicted a few days before Christmas.
"An eviction order against 62 of the applicants ... is suspended pending the final determination of the appeal in the supreme court of appea, pursuant to leave granted to the applicants by the high court on November 5 2008" said the concourt judges.
The tenants told Sowetan that the ruling had raised their hopes for a better life.
"We were shocked when we heard that we are facing eviction," Thulani Ngwenya said. "We do not know how the so-called owner bought this place. It has been our home for more than 10 years."
He said the building was sold fraudulently and they would contest ownership.
But Mailula claimed he bought the building for R3,5million from the previous tenants.
The tenants' lawyer, Jerry Nkeli, said he was happy that their fight had paid off.
"To be honest, I nearly cried when the ruling was announced."
Nkeli said the tenants were granted a subsidy by the department of housing in 1996 to acquire the building.