The City of Cape Town says it is ready to oppose the legal bid by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), the EFF and Legal Resources Centre to remove existing rights landowners have to protect property.
The City’s Executive Mayor, Dan Plato said: “The SAHRC, EFF and Legal Resources Centre are seeking the removal of all the means the City has to protect land from unlawful occupation. We stand ready to oppose this application and the chaos it is intended to bring about. This matter is important, not only for all public and private landowners, but for all communities impacted by ongoing organized land invasion attempts.”
Currently the City relies on court interdicts, which explicitly permit counter-spoliation to stop unlawful occupation attempts in real-time, including the removal of half-built and unoccupied structures.
This is the same legal right that property owners rely on to act urgently to stop the theft of property before it is too late.
The City is opposing an application in the Western Cape High Court in which the SAHRC and EFF argue for:
- a court order to first be obtained before a landowner can act to stop an invasion in real-time, when it is crucial to remove structures while these are still half-built and unoccupied;
- the well-established legal right to counter a land invasion – known as ‘counter-spoliation’ – to be declared unlawful to the detriment of all public and private property owners;
- the City’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit to be declared unlawful, and for the striking down of tenders for support services, leaving no means to perform this public service.
The Western Cape Government and South African Police Service (SAPS) are joining the City in opposing the application.
The case will be heard from 25 to 26 March.