Judge President wants new hearing in court case on halting illegal occupations
The Western Cape Government (WCG) is deeply disappointed to learn that Judge President Hlophe has decided to appoint three new judges for a new hearing to commence de novo in respect of part B of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) litigation against the City of Cape Town (CoCT) regarding the use of counter-spoliation by landowners as a mean to repel land invasions.
This decision follows an initial communication from his office that only a third judge would be appointed to breach the deadlock between Judge Meer and Judge Allie and that another 5-day hearing would not be required.
We were further informed that the initial communication sent to us in this respect was an error.
The first hearing of this matter, which concluded at the end of November after four days of arguments by the various Counsel, was followed by the two presiding Judges Meer and Allie advising that they cannot reach an agreement on the terms of the judgement.
Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements, Tertuis Simmers said:
“When we initially learned that Judge President Hlophe was considering the option of a new hearing, we instructed our attorney to write to him setting out our concerns as to the massive costs and time wasted this decision means for all of us. This view was shared by the South African Human Rights Commission who supported the suggestion of a third judge being appointed.
In addition, the legal basis for the decision isn’t immediately apparent to us and our proposal, that a third Judge should rather now be added to this matter, in a manner akin to what applies to deadlocks in civil or criminal appeals where two judges are routinely allocated, is a more practical, reasonable and legally compliant solution.
Sadly, it would appear that Judge President Hlophe does not view the proposal in the same light, notwithstanding that it would have saved the SAHRC, the EFF and the taxpayer- substantial amounts of time and resources, while also ensuring that the deadlock that is currently in play is settled.”