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‘Very upset’ residents called Plato after Hangberg ruling, he tells Parliament

Reprinted from News 24 by Jan Gerber

Dan Plato. (Netwerk24)

Dan Plato. (Netwerk24)
  • Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato said he received many calls from disgruntled residents after the Western Cape High Court ordered the City to rebuild a house in Hangberg which it had demolished.
  • He said one house was preventing a development on the site, which residents were looking forward to.
  • The mayor said the City must protect its land, otherwise it won’t be able to build proper houses.

Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato said he received many calls from Hangberg residents who were “very upset” about a High Court ruling ordering the City to rebuild a house it had demolished in the area.Plato and his team were briefing the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on the City’s human settlements policy.

In the court ruling, Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe ordered the City to immediately rebuild Ginola Phillips’ demolished house to the same size and dimensions it was, describing the City’s conduct as “deplorable, grotesque and without care for human dignity”.

News24 reported that the City was considering its options because the order to rebuild the single illegal Wendy house jeopardised the construction of a “valuable community facility”, which included a five-a-side soccer pitch.

A group called the Community of Hangberg, brought the application as the first applicant, with Phillips as the second, in response to the City of Cape Town’s dismantling of Phillips’ home in Hangberg, Hout Bay, twice in June. The City of Cape Town was the first respondent and Plato was the second.

“Mayor, I want to ask you, how do you feel after losing the court case?” EFF MP Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi asked.

“Most of the time, you run to the court, most of the time you win. This time you lost.”

She said they knew very well that the poorest of the poor couldn’t afford to defend themselves in court.

“Yes, it was negative for the City,” Plato responded. He added that they offered Phillips alternative sites on two occasions, but that he refused.

The City of Cape Town has been ordered by the High Court to rebuild a man’s small wendy-house home – within 48 hours. But in response, the City has advised it is “considering its options regarding the judgment”.

He told the committee he received lots of calls from residents “very upset” with the ruling because they were looking forward to the services that would have been provided through the City’s use of the site.

One house was stopping the development of the site, he pointed out.

“Many people abuse the lockdown measures,” he said. “They abuse the regulations for their own interests.”

Mkhaliphi also asked if he tried to contact Bulelani Qolani, a man who was dragged out of his house naked by City law enforcement officials in Khayelitsha.

Plato said he tried to and asked community organisations in Khayelitsha to help him track the man down.

“But I got the sense he doesn’t want to talk to me,” Plato said.

“We are not heartless,” Plato said.

“We are not excited about evictions.”

Simon Dippenaar & Associates, Inc. is a firm of specialist eviction lawyers, based in Cape Town and now operating in Johannesburg and Durban, helping both landlords and tenants with the eviction process. Contact one of our attorneys on 086 099 5146 or sdippenaar@sdlaw.co.za if you need advice on the eviction process or if you are facing unlawful eviction.

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