19 October 2012

South Africa: City, Residents' Committee Agree On Mediation

Pretoria — The City of Tshwane and Schubart and Kruger Park Residents' Committee have agreed that a mediation team should be appointed to facilitate discussions aimed at resolving issues between the parties.

This follows the Constitutional Court ruling last week Tuesday, which said the eviction of about 700 families from the council-owned Schubart Park building in Pretoria was unlawful.

The residents were removed over unpaid water and electricity bills and the municipality at that time said the building needed to be renovated.

The mediation team, parties have agreed, should consist of five neutral people. The city will source these individuals and as soon as they accept the request to be part of the team, a Convenor of the Parties will be appointed and a mediator will also be appointed to attend to deadlocks which the parties could come across in the engagement process.

The court instructed the Tshwane Metro Council to hold more meaningful talks with the evicted residents and to pay their legal fees.

The city undertook to fully commit to the order and finding amicable solutions for the residents of Schubart Park.

At a media briefing held on Thursday, Tshwane Executive Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa indicated that after discussions between the municipality and the residents committee, they agreed that a dispute resolution mechanism needed to be instigated.

The panel will become operational within 14 days.

Albert Mashimbye, the deputy chairperson of the Schubart and Kruger Park Residents' Committee, said they were happy to engage with the city in a meaningful and positive manner.

He said they were confident that nothing would jeopardise the discussions, which will start today.

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