The City of Ekurhuleni is appealing a December 2017 decision where the North Gauteng High Court ordered the municipality to build 133 houses for the residents of the Winnie Mandela Informal Settlement near Tembisa.
In the judgment, handed down on 15 December 2017, judge Mmonoa Teffo found that Ekurhuleni had failed to provide the residents with houses that were constructed with their government-approved housing subsidies. The houses were instead occupied by other, unknown people, often as a result of corruption in the housing allocation process, which Ekurhuleni controls. This, the court found, breached the residents’ constitutional and statutory housing rights.
The municipality contends that the High Court should have ordered it to treat the residents just like thousands of other people who were waiting for housing at a new development it says will be ready “subject to funding availability” in 2021.
This position is based on the misconception that the essence of the breach of the residents’ rights was in the municipality’s “unreasonable delay in constructing houses for the residents”. This is, however, untrue as the essence of the breach is in fact that houses were actually constructed, but were not given to the residents, for whom they were intended. The houses were instead given to other people no-one can identify.
The matter will be heard on a preferential basis on 2 May 2018 in the Supreme Court of Appeal.