20 August 2020
LRC secures court order compelling Msunduzi Municipality to provide basic services while the appeal process is pending
This morning the Pietermaritzburg High Court granted an order in the Mshengu case, stipulating that the 2019 court order requiring municipalities to provide access to basic services to labor tenants and farm-dwellers will remain in effect despite any appeal processes pending.
The landmark judgment and order of 29 July 2019, secured by LRC on behalf of labor tenants and the Association for Rural Advancement (AFRA), declared that the municipalities cited – Msunduzi, Umshwati, and Umgungundlovu – are in breach of their constitutional and legislative duties to provide farm-dwellers and labor tenants with
access to water, sanitation and refuse removal. Following this judgment, the Msunduzi Municipality filed an application for leave to appeal. Today’s ruling affirms our view that Msunduzi Municipality has a duty to provide basic services, despite the having filed an application for leave to appeal the judgment to the Supreme Court of
LRC is pleased that the Pietermaritzburg High Court granted the relief sought in this implementation application. This will allow the LRC to pursue implementation and enforcement of Judge Mnguni’s 2019 order, which requires that the municipalities present to the court action plan on how they will provide water, sanitation, and refuse
removal to farm-dwellers who currently do not have access to these services, and then implement these action plans. We recognize the extent of the work required to ensure implementation, but we thank the Court for taking the matter a step closer to restoring our clients’ rights to dignity through access to basic services.
We pay homage once again to Mr. Zabalaza Mshengu, the lead applicant in this case who passed away in 2018 at the age of 104 and was unable to see his struggle for basic services come to fruition. Not only has he been the face of this case for so many years, but he fought hard to realize rights that should always have been his. The struggle continues in his name.
Issued by the Legal Resources Centre
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Sharita Samuel (Durban Regional Director) Cell: 074 111 2174 / email@example.com
Simone Gray (Attorney of record) firstname.lastname@example.org