Slum dwellers unite behind Bapsfontein residents at Gauteng High Court


Bapsfontein9March1

The Bapsfontein residents were supported by hundreds of  shack dwellers outside the Pretoria Supreme Court

By Max Rambau, CORC

The case of the so-called “evacuation” of people at Bapsfontein Informal Settlement by the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality was heard at the Pretoria Supreme Court following an application by the Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) on behalf of the people of Bapsfontein.

The court sat on  9th March 2011 and was attended by hundreds of people of Bapsfontein and others from different informal settlements around Gauteng who came to give support.

The Ekurhuleni Metro Municipal failed to respond to the argument filed by the LHR for an interdict against the forced removal. The Supreme Court judge then requested Ekurhuleni Metro to go back and prepare their arguments because they failed, as the judge said, to reply to the arguments put by the lawyer on behalf of the people of Bapsfontein against the interdict application.

Ekurhuleni Metro had argued that this matter was “politically influenced” instead of arguing for the need to evacuate or relocate families from Bapsfontein. The case was postponed to Friday (11/03/2011) to allow the Ekurhuleni Metro Municipality to prepare their arguments on this case.

The support shown by people from various informal settlements around Gauteng was very good. Buses, mini-buses, hired taxis and vans were filled by people organised by the ISN to go and give support at court.

The court was filled to capacity and many other people could not be accommodated inside and they had to continue to protest from outside.

This case (2 sittings), although not yet concluded, has shown that the Ekurhuleni Metro Municipality did not know what they were doing at Bapsfontein.