On 9 February, SERI filed heads of argument in the High Court in the consolidated matter of Hawerd Nleya v Ingelosi House (Pty) Ltd ('Ingelosi House') and Occupiers of Erven 87 & 88 Berea v De Wet ('Kiribilly') asking the court for a structured order directing the City to make alternative accommodation available to the occupiers of these buildings within six months (and at least one month before any eviction order takes effect).
Both of these eviction applications deal with the City of Johannesburg (the City)'s constitutional obligation to provide alternative accommodation to occupiers who would otherwise be rendered homeless as a result of an eviction. In each matter, the eviction has been postponed to require the City to provide a report about its ability to provide of alternative accommodation to the occupiers. The matters have been remitted to the High Court from the full bench of the High Court and the Constitutional Court, respectively, for a decision on the City's obligation to provide alternative accommodation.
The City claims that is does not have any alternative accommodation available in which it could accommodate the occupiers and states that is needs between one and two years before it will be able to provide alternative accommodation.
SERI argues, on behalf of the occupiers, that:
"[t]he fact that there is currently no accommodation available to house the occupiers does not, in itself, mean that the City cannot be ordered to provide such accommodation. That is exactly what the Constitutional Court did in Blue Moonlight. There, the City stated that it had nothing to provide the occupiers concerned in that matter. The Constitutional Court nonetheless directed that accommodation be provided, and gave the City five months to produce such accommodation. The City ultimately complied with that order, albeit about two weeks late."
The matters will be heard together on 16 April 2018.