CAPE TOWN: 08 September 2022

In what can only be described as a victory for poor and working class women the Western Cape High Court (Equality Court) yesterday issued an order in the form of a notice that the City of Cape Town’s housing policy known as the “Housing Scheme Constructed by the Local Authority” is in fact unconstitutional in that it discriminates against women who were not recognised as co-owners of housing units which they received from the City under the policy. 

The Court was also asked to declare the agreements entered into in terms of the policy to be set aside as it failed to recognise female spouses (at the time of allocation) of the married makes allocated delayed transfer housing units as co-purchasers in equal share of these housing units.  

This follows the hearing yesterday of the case of Ms Abdullah represented by the Legal Resources Centre and the Women’s Legal Centre’s case against the City of Cape Town in which we challenged the unconstitutionality of the policy as well as its continued implementation of the Policy. The City had initially opposed the application and relief sought, but had prior to the hearing agreed that their policy was in fact unconstitutional and so to the continued implementation thereof through the sale agreements entered into. 

The order which is attached effectively gives notice to all women who are beneficiaries of housing under the policy and who have been discriminated against of their rights as co-owners and provides an opportunity for any affected party who may wish to oppose the relief to do so by 14 February 2023. 

Please see the order attached and if you are a woman affected by the order or the housing scheme watch our social media platforms over the coming days to find out exactly how this order impacts on your rights to your housing unit.  

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.

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