1 October 2020 – Media Statement: Western Cape High Court dismissed City of Cape Town and SAPS leave to appeal application

Media Statement

1 October 2020

Western Cape High Court dismissed City of Cape Town and SAPS leave to appeal application

This afternoon, the Western Cape High Court dismissed with costs the application for leave to appeal by the City of Cape Town and the South African Police Services against the evictions and demolitions interdict to Part A of our application. The interdict granted on 25 August 2020, which prohibits the City from conducting evictions and
demolition of structures during the national state of disaster unless an order of the court is obtained, remains in place. Further, the court ordered that the SAPS, where present during evictions and demolitions, must ensure that such evictions and demolitions are conducted in a dignified manner and that the law is upheld.

In its application for leave to appeal yesterday, the City argued that the evidence the court relied on to reach its decision lacked credibility, that the structures which the City demolishes cannot be deemed homes or structures under the ambit of the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act (PIE) and therefore the city still holds the right demolish structures they deem unoccupied under the common law principle of counter-spoliation. In their representations to the court, the SAPS argued that the relief granted against it is inappropriate as in any event, the scope of evictions and demolitions lies with the Sheriff, not the SAPS.

The court has maintained its position and most importantly, holds the view that another court would not reach a decision different from that which it has reached. It dismissed the application with costs. We welcome this ruling by the court as to grant leave to appeal would not be in the interests of justice, as we argued in opposition to the City and SAPS application yesterday.

Issued by the Legal Resources Centre
Media enquiries:
Cell: 068 584 2442 / Email: thabo@lrc.org.za