council slapped with court order

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

An order by the Pretoria high court in favour of squatters has left senior officials of the Blouberg municipality in Limpopo humiliated.

This after the court ordered the municipality on Monday to rebuild the 66 shacks it had destroyed in December last year.

The municipality demolished the shacks belonging to nearly 10000 residents of Desmond Park near Mogwadi, formerly known as Dendron.

The court ruled against the municipality, saying the council acted irresponsibly by demolishing the shacks without first obtaining a court order.

The court gave the municipality only 14 working days to rebuild the shacks - or face the wrath of the law.

The order comes barely two years after the municipality was sued for R23million for demolishing 500 shacks in the same area. The disgruntled residents had argued that the demolition was done illegally and without consultation.

They said the process had humiliated them while at the same time invading their privacy.

The secretary general of the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) in the Capricorn District, Sanny Mannya, said the residents would not back down on their demands for their shacks to be rebuilt.

Mannya said the act by the municipality in "post-apartheid South Africa was similar to the evictions carried out by the apartheid regime".

He said the municipality should have had consultations before taking a "stupid and uninformed" decision.

"We will fight to the last drop of our blood to make sure that the municipality abide by the court order," he said.

The community's legal representative, Advocate Gilford Malatji, said the municipality was sued for damages of R23million in 2006 for the 500 demolished shacks

Malatji said it was carelessness on the part of the municipality to evict people without an eviction order.

Contacted for comment, municipal manager NI Makhura said yesterday the municipality had not yet received a formal order from the court.

"Yes, we were ordered to rebuild the [66] shacks but we cannot do anything before we receive a formal document."