City of Cape Town vs SAHRC court matter postponed after legal rep tests positive

There was an altercation with law enforcement when some of the people at the Strandfontein camp tried to break down a fence. Picture: Ashraf Hendricks / GroundUp

The judge says the matter should be postponed to 9 June to allow for a 14-day quarantine period for all legal representatives who may have been exposed to Covid-19.

The court matter between the City of Cape Town and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has been postponed after a legal representative of one of the parties tested positive for Covid-19, the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) has said.

The Western Cape High Court was on Wednesday set to hear an application by the city, seeking to prevent human rights monitors from accessing the Strandfontein shelter.

The city was heavily criticised after it hastily erected the controversial Strandfontein shelter for the homeless in Cape Town in line with Disaster Management Act regulations that homeless people be moved to shelters during the lockdown.

It was criticised from several quarters on its layout, restrictions on movement, and not allowing visitors in.

The LRC said Judge Siraj Desai recommended on Wednesday as a precautionary measure that the matter should be postponed to 9 June for a 14-day quarantine period for all legal representatives who may have been exposed to Covid-19.

The legal representative who tested positive for the virus had been present at a hearing before Desai last Friday, the LRC said.

“All parties have agreed to postpone the matter above, with the interim order granted on 14 May 2020 extended until the date of hearing.

“The LRC wishes our colleagues and fellow justice lawyer a speedy recovery.”

https://twitter.com/LRC_SouthAfrica/status/1263054420884979714?s=20

The Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS), which has been admitted as a friend of the court, said that in April the SAHRC released a report on the conditions at the shelter, concluding that the camp “is in gross violation of national and international human rights and must be closed down with immediate effect”.

CALS said last Friday the court ordered that select representatives from the SAHRC as well as five monitors, should continue to monitor the shelter.

The City of Cape Town had launched a court application to interdict human rights monitors from accessing the shelter.

(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)

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