News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Monday July 22nd 2019

Backyarders continue to wait for outcome of appeal

An impassioned backyarder holding a banner with the words 'New Horizons', the name they have given to the land they have occupied in Mitchell's Plain, chants in front of the Cape High Court on June 1. Photo: Steve Kretzmann/WCN

Hundreds of Tafelsig backyarders gathered outside the Cape High Court on June 1 to hear the outcome of their appeal against the city of Cape Town’s court interdict preventing the erection of structures and occupation of city owned land in Mitchells Plain.The interdict was obtained on Tuesday May 17 following two days of violent clashes between backyarders and police after more than 4000 backyarders occupied city-owned land in Tafelsig on May 14.

Although the backyarders gathered at the High Court from about 10am on Wednesday, the matter was only heard by the court at 3.15pm.

The backyarders have a further wait for the outcome of their appeal ahead of them as a postponement till July 27 was granted by Judge Lee Bozalek in order to allow those backyarders who did not have legal representation enough time to do so.

Lawyer Sheldon Magardie of Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) said the LHR was representing 20 backyarders but this number was likely to increase. Magardie said the city initially wanted the case to be heard on June 14 but the LHR objected to this date as it did not give backyarders sufficient time to obtain representation.

Throughout the day men, women and children stood outside the court with banners and placards, singing and chanting altered versions of Cape folk and struggle songs. Brightly coloured and neatly written placards and banners proclaimed slogans such as: “Give our land back,” “We don’t want bullets, we want houses,” and “DA city failed us”.

The backyarders were supported by organizations such as Workers International, Proudly Manenberg, Mitchells Plain People’s Forum, and the Mitchells Plain Khoisan Customary Council.

City of Cape Town media manager Kylie Hatton said the matter would be postponed to allow parties time to oppose the city’s application for an eviction order.

“It is likely that it will be postponed for a future hearing to allow the three parties who have indicated that they would like to oppose the application for an eviction order to prepare,” she said.

Meanwhile, about 30 families are still living on the open field in Tafelsig despite severe winter weather. Others have sought shelter in safe havens, churches, and the backyards of families in the surrounding area. – Fadela Slamdien, West Cape News



Tags: backyarders, cape high court, cape news, cape town, City of Cape Town, lawyers for human rights, Manenberg

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