Human rights group, the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) has condemned the City of Cape Town’s decision to evict people and demolish homes in Empolweni, Makhaza, on Thursday. The centre says the evictions are in contravention of the Disaster Management Act.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola declared evictions illegal during the lockdown.

“All evictions and executions of attachment orders, both movable and immovable, including the removal of movable assets in executions; are suspended with immediate effect for the duration of the lockdown.”

The LRC says the City’s actions have exposed Empolweni residents to a higher risk of contracting COVID-19.

“The City of Cape Town’s actions have rendered numerous families homeless, thereby compromising the effectiveness of the measures put in place to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19. It has further exposed the occupants to a higher risk of infection which may increase the infection rate of COVID-19.”

The LRC has demanded the City to explain its actions.

“We wish to further remind the City of Cape Town of the decision by the South Gauteng High Court judgment against the City of Jo’burg for ‘unlawfully’ evicting 23 people over alleged illegal occupation in its property. In the judgment handed down by Judge Avriellle Maier Frawley, the court  found that the city, together with the Jo’burg Metro Police and other law enforcement agencies, acted ‘unlawfully’ and ‘unconstitutional’ when carrying out the evictions during the lockdown period.”

The human rights group is also demanding a written undertaking that the City won’t carry out further evictions during the lockdown period.

The LRC has given the City of Cape Town until close of business on Tuesday to respond.