19 November 2012

South Africa: Reverend Chikane to Facilitate Discussions On Schubart Park

Pretoria — In compliance with an order granted by the Constitutional Court, the City of Tshwane and the residents of Schubart Park have jointly appointed Reverend Frank Chikane as the convener of discussions aimed at resolving issues between the parties.

This follows the Constitutional Court ruling on 9 October, which said the eviction of about 700 families from the council-owned Schubart Park 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.

Reverand Chikane has already held two meetings with the parties and, together with representatives from the municipality and resident's committee, carried out an in loco inspection of the Schubart Park buildings to get a sense of what the parties were talking about in terms of the buildings.

During a media briefing in Pretoria on Monday, the parties agreed on and signed the Terms of Reference that will pave the way to an agreement that will resolve outstanding issues between the parties.

Reverend Chikane said a joint working committee had been constituted to deal with the identification of the residents who were staying in Schubart Park before the removals and alternative accommodation to be provided for the identified residents.

The committee would also look at the manner in which the city will assist the identified residents in the restoration of their occupation of Schubart Park.

Reverend Chikane explained that during their second meeting, the city and residents agreed that they would work together to identify residents who were occupying Schubart Park as they will know the people.

"On the [matter of] alternative accommodation, it's the point we need to report on to the judge by the 30 November," Reverend Chikane said.

He added that the city would have to report to court by 31 January 2013 regarding the manner in which it will assist the identified residents in the restoration of their occupation of Schubart Park.

Deputy Chairperson of the Schubart and Kruger Park Residents' Committee, Albert Mashimbye, said no problems had been encountered thus far regarding the identification of residents.

"We haven't encountered any challenges because we do have information as far as our residents are concerned. As indicated the working committee is busy dealing with the issue and in due time, they will come and give a report," said Mashimbye.

City Manager Jason Ngobeni said residents have been accommodated in two major accommodation areas within the inner city at the city's expense. He noted that one of the areas raised by the order of the court was to normalise the tenants, including payment for accommodation.

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