Big property developer West Coast Properties was sent packing after the Western Cape High Court ruled in favour of more than 100 residents who were on the verge of being evicted.

A Cape Argus report says West Coast Properties tried to eject 126 residents who have been staying in Steenberg’s Cove, a small town in St Helena Bay on the West Coast.

Judge Daniel Dlodlo delivered his judgment yesterday: ‘The court is duty bound to give special regard to the rights of elderly, children and disabled persons involved. Gone are the days when people are willy-nilly evicted from what they regard as their home, he said.

I am not persuaded that the applicant made out a case deserving the granting of relief sought. It is recommended that the applicant, the respondents and the municipality engage in meaningful discussion in order to resolve the matter.

A majority of the residents used to work in a fishing factory until it closed in 1967, and as a benefit they were given free accommodation. The battle started in 2011 when West Coast Properties began drawing up its plans and was given approval to develop the area.

West Coast Properties then brought forward an application to have the residents evicted last year, and the case was heard last month.

Principally, the duty to provide housing is not one to be borne by private citizens. Indeed it is trite that it was never intended by the drafters of our Constitution that an individual’s right to housing was one to be shouldered by private entities,’ said Dlodlo in dismissing the application to evict the residents.

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