18 August 2020 – Media Statement: LRC application to implement the Court Order launched on behalf of farmdwellers and AFRA in the Mshengu case to be decided

Media Statement

18 August 2020

LRC application to implement the Court Order launched on behalf of farm dwellers and AFRA in the Mshengu case to be decided

On Thursday, the Pietermaritzburg High Court will hear the Legal Resources Centre’s application to implement the 2019 Court order compelling municipalities to provide basic services to farm-dwellers and labour tenants residing within their jurisdiction, regardless of any appeal processes pending.

In July 2019, the LRC secured a landmark judgment in the Mshengu case in which the court declared that the municipalities cited – Msunduzi, Umshwati, and Umgungundlovu – were in breach of their constitutional and legislative duties to provide farm-dwellers and labor tenants with access to water, sanitation and refuse removal. In terms of the order granted by the court, the municipalities were required to file reports and action plans detailing how many farm-dwellers in their jurisdictions do not have access to water, sanitation, and refuse removal and also detail their plan of action for providing these basic services to residents in need.

Following the judgment, however, the Msunduzi Municipality filed an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal. In terms of section 18(1) of the Superior Courts Act, 10 of 2013, the operation and execution of an order is suspended as a result of an application for leave to appeal is filed. This has caused prejudice to our clients as it continues to impede implementation of the order and therefore their access to basic services which are necessary for self-actualization and dignity. The Msunduzi Municipality has still, to date, not set down the application for leave to appeal.

To ensure that the order granted by Judge Mnguni in 2019 is implemented and our clients’ dignity restored, the LRC lodged an application in terms of section 18(3) of the Superior Courts Act – an application requiring that the court order continue to operate despite any appeal proceedings. This application was originally set down for hearing in
April this year but due to the COVID-19 Alert Level 5 Lockdown, was not heard and will instead be heard this Thursday, 20 August.

We seek from the Pietermaritzburg High Court relief to enable the 2019 order to operate, despite any appeal processes. This will allow us to ensure the implementation and enforcement of Judge Mnguni’s order. In this way, we can move a step forward in ensuring the dignity of our clients is realized.

Issued by the Legal Resources Centre
Sharita Samuel (Attorney of record)
Cell: 074 111 2174 / sharita@lrc.org.za