The St Engenas ZCC church was compelled to seek alternative accommodation and groceries after its church leaders unlawfully evicted people from a building owned by the City of Johannesburg, demolished it and left the occupants destitute.

The City of Johannesburg earlier this month obtained a court order from the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) rendering the decision by church leaders Lesetja Mothiba and Amos Tshabalala to displace several families from a municipal building in Alexandra as a violation of their constitutional rights. 

City Press reports Judge Jabulani Dhlamini last week ruled the church should take full responsibility for the settlement of those displaced by the demolition of the house.

According to an affidavit by the City of Johannesburg's director of human settlements, Patrick Phophi, some of the families have been living in the building since 1972.

‘The dispute involves a property in the form of a house in Alexandra, which belongs to the applicant, the City of Johannesburg. Historically, it belonged to the Alexandra City Council. The church and the evicted occupiers occupied different rooms and units thereof. These properties have since been merged into one property and it is now known as erf 998 extension six Alexandra, Gauteng Province. Both parties have the same rights over the respective units,’ read the affidavit.

Full City Press report