Since our last Annual General Meeting (AGM) quite a number of things have happened on the legal front – both in respect of existing litigation, as well as in respect of the City’s latest attempt to bypass its own bylaws to use the Triangle for a purpose that is not suited to it.
The hearing on the existing litigation that was planned for 9 September 2019 was indeed – as we’ve indicated at the AGM – postponed. This hearing would have been to present our case on three applications that have been joined (i.e. to be considered by the Court at the same time as they relate to the same matter). It started with the City bringing an application to evict the residents of Dontse Yakhe and relocate them on the Triangle, and then in due course two review applications that were added to this – both review applications related to the City’s decisions to declare the Triangle a temporary residential site based on an “emergency”. It seems that the City was not interested in proceeding with this hearing of 9 September as it pinned its hopes on its latest application – namely to request a temporary departure in respect of the Triangle to use it for shelters.
We had to make payment to the attorney who is representing us in these three litigation matters in the amounts of R99,297.24 and R3,450.00. The last amount was because the Advocate in the case submitted his account late. This attorney has successfully taxed an account in favour of the HBRA – this was in respect of an earlier postponement that the City sought and in which the Court granted costs against the City for that request. The City challenged this taxation, but the attorney was able to secure a settlement in the amount of R31,482.19. This amount was paid into the HBRA bank account on 28 October 2019.
In respect of the latest decision of the City to grant a temporary departure in respect of the Triangle to use it for shelters, we have given instructions to another attorney, who specialises in these types of matters, to represent HBRA. He has identified a legal technical argument and he will argue that when the appeal is heard this November. For his services we had to pay him R48.875.00 upfront. We have however not yet received a date for this hearing from the City and given the current lockdown, we doubt that a hearing will be soon. We are in talks with other people in the City and we hope that another avenue can be found to resolve this matter.
However, should we not be successful on this appeal, we will take the decision on review and it will be joined to the above three matters.
As you will note from this legal report, despite our best efforts, the actions of the City is placing a heavy burden cost-wise onto the rate payers of Hout Bay. The City continues to use its position to delay matters, which increases the legal costs involved – and the City is furthermore trying one shortcut after the other to achieve its objective in using the triangle as a “temporary” site for shelters. HBRA must be able to hold the City to account on behalf of the rate payers of Hout Bay whenever the City is flaunting its own bylaws and to do this, we need funds. Please continue to support us (you may do an EFT or use this link: https://houtbayratepayers.co.za/Donate/) so that we can continue to hold the City to account.