Court attaches assets of cash-strapped town

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

It never rains but pours for the Blouberg municipality in Limpopo.

Barely a month after the municipality was ordered to rebuild shacks belonging to villagers, the Pretoria magistrate's court instructed a sheriff to attach the municipality's assets.

A water tanker, front-end loader and tipper truck were attached on Tuesday after the municipality failed to pay the legal costs of cases it lost.

The municipality lost a case against residents of Desmond Park early this year after it demolished 67 shacks without first obtaining a court order.

The court decision has been hailed as a victory by Desmond Park residents, who said their rights were violated when their shacks were destroyed last year.

The residents argued in court that the municipality had acted unlawfully in demolishing their shacks.

The court ordered the municipality to rebuild the shacks within 14 days and pay the legal costs of the residents.

The legal costs amounted to R1million.

A spokesman for the Desmond Park residents, Ludwig Hlahla, said the municipality deserved what the court imposed on it.

"We hope such actions by the court will go a long way to sending a message to the municipality that it is not above the law," Hlahla said yesterday.

The court also ordered the municipality to pay the legal costs incurred by a man who was suspended for allegedly stealing 25litres of petrol from a council garage.

The municipality lost this case despite paying legal fees estimated at R250000.

Municipal manager Ike Makhura yesterday confirmed that a sheriff had been instructed to attach the assets, but said he did not have details of what had been seized.