FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CAPE TOWN: 15 February 2023
The Women’s Legal Centre welcomes the finalisation of the Abdullah and Women’s Legal Centre Trust v The City of Cape Town matter on 14 February 2023. This was an application for an order declaring the implementation by the City of Cape Town of its erstwhile housing allocation policy known as “Housing Schemes Constructed by a Local Authority” (‘the policy’) inconsistent with the Constitution. The Applicants Mrs. Abdullah and the Women’s Legal Centre Trust put forward that the policy and its continued implementation by the City of Cape Town discriminates against women as contemplated by s 8 of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000 (‘PEPUDA’).
The City brought a counter application in which it sought ostensibly the same relief as that of Mrs. Abdullah and the WLCT. The matter was set down for hearing on 7 September 2022 where the Court handed down a rule nisi in which the City was interdicted from passing transfer to any of the housing units until such time as the City had given notice to all parties who would be impacted by the Order and who would want to oppose the relief that was being sought. The relief being the declaration of invalidity of the policy was held over for finalisation on 14 February 2023.
The Court has now ordered that:
- The sale agreements concluded pursuant to paragraph 4(a) of the housing allocation policy known as the ‘Housing Scheme Constructed by the Local Authority’ (‘the Policy’) with married males are declared to be contra bonos mores to the extent that these agreements do not reflect the female spouses (as at the date of allocation) of the married males allocated the delayed transfer units in terms of the Policy (‘the housing units’) as co-purchasers, in equal shares, of such housing units.
- The Policy is declared to be inconsistent with the Constitution and in particular, discriminatory against women, as contemplated by s 8 of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000, in that the sale agreements concluded with married males, do not reflect the female spouses (as at the date of allocation) of the married males allocated the housing units in terms of the Policy as co-purchasers, in equal shares, of such housing units.
- All the sale agreements in respect of which the housing units have not been transferred, shall upon the date of granting this order, be amended and rectified to reflect both the married male beneficiaries and their female spouses (as at the date of allocation) (hereinafter ‘the beneficiaries’), as co-purchasers, in equal shares, of the housing units, in terms of the provisions of the addendum agreement.
- A Directive shall be issued by the Fourth Respondent to all its housing offices forthwith, dealing with the implementation of this order.
- The Fourth Respondent shall pass transfer of the housing units to the co-purchasers in the sale agreements as amended, in equal and undivided shares, when transfer of the housing units becomes due in terms of the sale agreements as amended, and upon conclusion of the verification process, unless a Court directs otherwise.
- Pending transfer of the housing units as contemplated in the paragraph above, the Fourth Respondent is interdicted and restrained from passing transfer of such units only to the male beneficiaries when transfer of the housing units become due in terms of the sale agreements.
- The Fourth Respondent shall implement a communications campaign to alert the female beneficiaries of the housing units of the relief granted in this Order in respect of the amendment of the discriminatory sale agreements concluded in terms of the Policy.
- Any interested person may approach this Court for a variation of this order in the event that she or he suffers harm not foreseen in this order, or in the event of serious administrative or practical problems being experienced.
This order impacts on the lives of an estimated 12 000 ‘delayed transfer units’ in City ownership, where transfer still has to be passed to purchasers” and that the properties allocated in terms of the policy “fall within this category of delayed transfer units”. Further, “there are 52 249 applicants who have received housing assistance up to 31 March 1998” and the “allocation of delayed transfer units in terms of the erstwhile policy may be included in this number”.
The final order makes provision for anyone prejudiced by the order to approach the Court and seek alternative relief. The WLC encourages women who think that they are beneficiaries in terms of the delayed transfer units or recipients of housing up to March 1998 to contact their local housing office to ensure that their rights to co-ownership is recognised and protected.
The WLC extends its gratitude to Adv Mushahida Adhikari and Adv Ntwanano Mashava for their dedication to ensuring women’s rights to housing are recognised and protected.
The Women’s Legal Centre is an African feminist legal centre that advances womxn’s rights and equality using tools such as litigation, advocacy, education, advice, research and training.
For media enquiries, contact the WLC Communications Team at email@example.com