The legal battle between the City of Cape Town and the homeless has taken a new twist with the homeless applicants withdrawing their contempt of court application against the City. The homeless had applied for contempt of court after the City continued to issue fines despite having an agreement in place.
The agreement stated that the City of Cape Town undertook to desist and refrain from enforcing or further prosecuting fines and summonses issued to the homeless applicants until their interim interdict application is heard on December 3.
Lucien Lewin, a director at Dingley Marshall, the law firm representing the seven homeless applicants said he had been instructed to withdraw the application so that they concentrate on the interim interdict application to be heard on December 3 and to prepare for the main review proceedings looking at the constitutionality of the conduct of the City and the by-laws themselves.
The notice of withdrawal was delivered to the City’s attorneys.
In its responding affidavit for the contempt of court matter the City of Cape Town pinned its actions down to a technicality.
It said the matter was not as urgent as the applicants had contended, and that the applicants had irregularly cited mayor Dan Plato, mayco member for safety and security JP Smith and executive director for safety and security Richard Bosman as respondents in their application.
The City also said that the applicants lacked standing to act on behalf of persons not party to the application, and that the City had not maliciously contravened the agreement.
City manager Lungelo Mbandazayo said the undertaking does not preclude the respondent (City) from enforcing compliance with other laws and by-laws.
Mbandazayo pointed out that prior to the agreement the applicants’ legal team conveyed their understanding thereof and it was on this basis that the City consented to it.
More: Cape Times