News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday September 15th 2019

New twist in Makhaza toilet saga

On Monday it transpired in the Cape High Court that the three applicants who have brought the City of Cape Town and other state departments to court over the Makhaza toilet saga, are themselves facing charges of malicious damage to property.Last week Western Cape High Court Judge Nathan Erasmus ordered provincial police commissioner Arno Lamoer to appear before him and explain his absence from court or be charged with contempt of court.

Lamoer and Harare police station commissioner Gert Nel were asked to explain to the court why they had apparently failed to fulfil a court order given in December to investigate whether residents of Makhaza who prevented the City of Cape Town from erecting temporary top structures around toilets provided in the area, should be charged with preventing the carrying out of a court order.

This followed the City attempting to erect top structures around 55 open-air toilets in Makhaza after being ordered to do so by the High Court on December 6.

The case in the High Court in which Lamoer and Nel were to explain themselves, was brought by three Makhaza residents who accuse the city of not adhering to the findings of the Human Rights Commission, who earlier last year investigated the city’s failure to enclose 55 toilets provided to Makhaza residents.

On Monday, a show down between the police commissioner and the court was averted when the policemen’s legal representative Peter Hodes provided affidavits to Judge Erasmus.

In the affidavits Lamoer and Nel asked the court for pardon, explaining that the results of the investigation ordered by the court found that the three applicants who had initiated the court case against city, and other state departments and officials, were the very people charged with preventing Erasmus’s order for the city to erect top structures, from being carried out.

The trio, who are the applicants in the case over the long-running Makhaza toilet saga being heard by Erasmus, have been charged with malicious damage to property.

Their defence attorney, Norman Arendse, expressed his dissatisfaction to the court upon hearing that the Senior Public Prosecutor (SPP) was to press charges against his clients.

Arendse said the Senior Public Prosecutor did not have enough evidence to charge his clients and was only doing so in order that Lamoer and Nel could avoid contempt of court charges.

“They (SPP) can only charge someone when there is enough evidence to do so based on the facts on the (police) docket.”

He said charging his clients was an abuse of power by the SPP and asked Erasmus to request the SPP explain to the court why the decision to charge his clients had been taken.

But Arendse’s argument was to no avail. The applicants; Ntombentsha Beja, Andile Lili and Andiswa Ncani, are to appear before the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s court on April 5. – Sandiso Phaliso, West Cape News

Tags: City of Cape Town, human rights commission, Khayelitsha

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