By Jenni Evans
The City of Johannesburg has to find alternative accommodation for people it plans to evict from its "bad buildings", the Johannesburg High Court ruled on Friday.
"We are satisfied," said Centre for Applied Legal Studies researcher Stuart Wilson who represented 300 people facing eviction from what the city calls "bad buildings".
"The (city’s) housing policy was declared unconstitutional because no alternative accommodation was provided," said Wilson.
"It is important because the court was saying that the right to housing is linked to the right to a location," he said.
The judgment related to more than 300 residents of four houses on Joel Street in Johannesburg’s Berea, a multi-storey building known as "San Jose", also in the area and a disused panel-beater in Main Street in the city centre.
They were challenging the Johannesburg Metro’s practice of evicting people from allegedly unsafe buildings into the streets.
Judge Mahomed Jajbhay dismissed the eviction applications the city had brought against them.
"He also interdicted the city from evicting or seeking to evict the residents until such time as adequate alternative accommodation in the inner-city area has been provided," the centre said.
"The Judge ordered the city to devise and implement a comprehensive plan to cater for people living in the inner-city of Johannesburg who are in desperate need of accommodation.
"The judgment makes it clear that the poor people resident in so-called bad buildings of the inner-city of Johannesburg must be given access to a home in the inner-city area if the city wants to evict them from accommodation it considers unsafe."
The centre said thousands of South Africans lived in "bad buildings" because they could not afford decent accommodation in the private residential market or in the over-subscribed inner city housing. - Sapa
Original article at: http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=2935&art_id=qw1141386661266B263