Published by The Legal Resources Centre 09 February 2018
For Immediate Release: 09 February 2018
Today, 09 February 2018, in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, relief was granted to the Endumeni Civic Association, representing 294 RDP housing applicants who were robbed of their houses through corruption by the Endumeni Local Municipality officials and the Housing Committee.
The Endumeni Civic Association was represented by the Legal Resources Centre (LRC).
The Legal Resources Centre, on behalf of the Endumeni Civic Association, challenged the arbitrary application and manipulation of the reconstruction and development programme (RDP) housing waiting lists, unclear RDP housing allocation systems and policies, and the alleged corrupt allocation of RDP houses in Ward 4 and 5 of the Municipality.
Those represented by the Endumeni Civic Association are the most needy and vulnerable residents of the Municipality. Some of them are not well-informed about their prospects of being allocated housing and some have been allocated houses ahead of others on the list.
The Endumeni Civic Association wished to see dignity restored to those still waiting for homes and others who were robbed of their homes through corruption. They feared that the failure to resolve the problem would increase the tension between applicants who were incorrectly prioritised and unfairly benefitted, and those still waiting for housing, and would have dismal consequences on their communities.
The Pietermaritzburg High Court had to address a number of issues in this matter. In brief, the court had to evaluate the conduct of the Endumeni Local Municipality against relevant principles enshrined in the Constitution. These included reasonableness, good governance, justice and equity, impartiality, fairness and equitability.
In the judgment handed down today, the court found that the conduct of the Municipality is unconstitutional. Further that the arbitrary, irrational and unreasonable allocation of houses in Ward 4 and 5 must be reviewed and set aside.
The LRC welcomes the judgment and supports the Court’s call upon the Endumeni Local Municipality to file a report within two months identifying all the applications for RDP houses pertaining to Ward 4 and 5 of the area of Dundee. The Court further stated that, for each application for RDP housing, the Endumeni Local Municipality shall indicate whether the application was approved or rejected, and if rejected, the reasons for such rejection, and the requirements that the RDP housing applicants were required to meet in order for their applications to be approved.
The Court further directed the Endumeni Local Municipality to explain the steps it will take in order to finalise the applications for RDP houses and allocate houses to the correct applicants. The Court further directed the Endumeni Local Municipality to explain the criteria it will employ to ensure that people who do not qualify for the allocation of a home are managed so that they are removed from homes that they are currently occupying.
This report must be engaged with by all relevant parties and further remedies to ensure access to housing be considered.
The Legal Resources Centre is aware of similar problems confronting RDP housing applicants in many other parts of South Africa and hopes that this judgment may be relied on as a precedent to assist similarly affected RDP housing applicants. ENDS