The North Gauteng High Court today ordered the Ekurhuleni Municipality to build 133 houses for the residents of the Winnie Mandela Informal Settlement near Tembisa.
Judge Mmonoa Teffo found that Ekurhuleni had failed to provide the residents with houses that were constructed with their government-approved housing subsidies. The houses were instead occupied by other, unknown people, often as a result of corruption in the housing allocation process, which Ekurhuleni controls. This breached the residents’ constitutional and statutory housing rights. Ekurhuleni, Judge Teffo held, knew that the housing allocation process was marred by fraud and mismanagement, but failed to ensure that the residents were provided with the houses they were entitled to. The residents have been living in shacks for several years as a result, often receiving municipal accounts for houses they could not move into, because they had been allocated to other, unknown people.
Judge Teffo held that Ekurhuleni had overseen a corrupt and deeply compromised housing allocation process that denied the residents the benefit of their subsidies. This, Judge Teffo decided, breached the residents’ right to housing in the Constitution and the laws and policies that have been adopted by the government to give effect to those rights.
Ekurhuleni was ordered to build each of the residents a house at Tembisa Extension 25, or at another agreed location, by no later than 31 December 2018. Ekurhuleni was also ordered to form a committee with the residents to engage with them on the progress of the construction project. Ekurhuleni was also ordered to pay the residents’ legal costs.