Western Cape High Court Judge, Nathan Erasmus, has dismissed an urgent application brought by Tafelsig backyard dwellers for leave to appeal an eviction order. The court has ordered the removal of the remaining 25 structures at Kapteinsklip in Mitchell's Plain on land that was occupied illegally.
Justice Erasmus says the occupation was by people who voluntarily left places where they were living, to jump the City's housing queue.
They brought the application yesterday - on the same day they were to be evicted by the City of Cape Town from two tracts of land in Mitchells Plain.
Justice Erasmus said in his ruling that he is aware that the land invaders are desperate and vulnerable but land invasions must be rejected. He has given the backyard dwellers 48 hours to leave the area. He ruled that the residents may challenge the ruling in a higher court.
One of the residents, Faiza Meyer says, "I have been living on [this] land for four months, so what if we have this beautiful Constitution, it means nothing." 36-year-old Meyer, who has four children, added that they are praying for a miracle.
Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) say they are disappointed by the ruling. Sheldon Magardie of the LHR had this to say, "It is unlikely that we will take the case to a higher court, we are very disappointed, but the aim of the case was to highlight the issue of homeless and landless in our country."
Backyard dwellers are seen as invisible people, they rent space at the back of people's yard. In this case, people were tired and started occupying the piece of land. The City has offered them alternative accommodation at Blikkiesdorp in Delft, but residents are reluctant to move.
Some say they will move, whilst others say they will fight to ensure they remain here in Tafelsig. The City of Cape Town has welcomed the ruling and say they will assist residents where possible. But residents have vowed not to move and come Thursday the law will not be on their side.