Five justices of the Supreme Court of Appeal on Wednesday found that the City of Johannesburg Metro Police acted disrespectfully and unlawfully towards a group of homeless people when they destroyed their belongings in 2017 following complaints from businesses and the public.
The 27 homeless people used to live under the R31 highway bridge on End Street in the Joburg CBD and kept their food, blankets and other belongings with them under the bridge.
The group reportedly approached the Supreme Court of Appeal with the help of Lawyers for Human Rights’ Louise du Plessis seeking intervention.
The City of Johannesburg was, as a result, ordered to pay R1,500 to each applicant in compensation.
This after a convoy of JMPD officials reportedly hurled insults at the group, kicked and pepper-sprayed them before loading their belongings in a truck and destroying them in 2017, IOL reported.
At the time, the JMPD reportedly said the homeless were a challenge for them and caused a mess on the streets.
They, however, denied that any valuables were taken.
Justice Mandisa Maya was quoted as saying: “All these people wanted was for the court to order the return of their goods.”
However, the justices deemed the task difficult after the applicants only listed blankets, baby clothes and “tools to fix trolley” as items that were destroyed, and ordered the City to rather pay R500 to each applicant as compensation.
The JMPD will, in total, pay R40,500.