Commission says municipality violated human rights

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REFILWE MEKOA

Maluti-a-Phofung Municipality has been recommended by the South African Human Rights Commission to provide hundreds of residents who have been evicted at a farm in the Bokamoso area in QwaQwa, Free State with an alternative stable accommodation.

This after the Human Rights Commission on Tuesday found that the rights of residents were violated during the eviction process. Hundreds of residents were evicted on 11 June this year after residents were, according to the municipality, “unlawfully occupying” the remainder of Farm Bluegumbosch 199, Ha Tshohanyane, Bokamoso in QwaQwa.

According to the commission’s spokesperson Isaac Mangena, the municipality has violated the right to human dignity of the evicted people by providing them with inadequate and unsanitary sanitation facilities. He said the municipality has been directed to provide the evicted persons with adequate alternative accommodation where they can live without the threat of another eviction and with access to basic services such as sanitation, water and refuse services within a period of three months from today.

“Part of the recommendations is that the municipality should supply the evicted residents with a relocation plan for the people who have been evicted, especially where it concerns the elderly and people with disabilities, including woman aswell. To also enhance community participation in some of the important decisions that they take and ensure that there are feedback sessions in every three months,” he said.

Mangena demonstrated that the eviction followed the Constitutional Court decision to dismiss the application for leave to appeal made on behalf of Bokamoso residents and the application was dismissed on the basis that it bears no prospects of success. He further explained that the eviction was initially ordered by the Free State High Court on 17 August 2012.

Mangena added that the matter was brought by Chief of the Mabolela Traditional Council, Morena Tsolo Mopeli who sought the commission’s intervention in order to halt the eviction process pending a comprehensive assessment of the needs of the residents, their details and personal circumstances, the impact of eviction on vulnerable groups, the provision of adequate alternative accommodation by the municipality, and meaningful engagement with the residents.