Home South Africa News Man continues to fight against eThekwini for Durban homeless shelter justice

Man continues to fight against eThekwini for Durban homeless shelter justice

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Dr Peter Munns

The Ark residents were evicted in 2004 to make way for a property development which has not yet manifested.

Judge Anton van Zyl on Monday removed the case between Dr. Peter Munns on behalf of The Ark against the City of eThekwini from the roll but stressed that the matter had not been “struck off” or dismissed.

Munns, a man many have dubbed a modern-day Noah, is currently standing alone against eThekwini Municipality, representing The Ark, a homeless shelter on the Durban beachfront which was closed down more than a decade ago, Berea Mail reports.

By 2.15pm on Monday afternoon, the battle, which Munns expected would see him spending nine days in the Durban High Court, was over. For now.
In his decision, Judge Van Zyl pointed out that when a case is struck off the roll, it indicated the court’s displeasure with it and was a dismissal. However, by merely removing it and reserving any ruling pertaining to the costs, it left the option to have the matter re-enrolled at a later date.

Judge Van Zyl ruled that the matter could resume once the company cited as the plaintiff — The Durban Ark Concepts NPC — had been re-registered with the Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission (CIPC).

“The judge did not understand the case and held his view on one common law point of registration and did not take into account I was chairman of The Ark Christian Ministries Church,” Munns said.

Asked if the court had indicated any deadline by which Munns would need to get the requirements fulfilled for the matter to be returned to the roll, Munns said he was not going to be wasting any time.

“[There is] no deadline at all but we will not be idle in getting back to the high court,” he said.

“We will be back to explain it more easily for any judge that at least has his head around this case and fully understands the history,” said Munns.

According to Munns, destroying The Ark was not necessary, and that’s what angered him the most.

“It was avoidable and it was heartless! It is a humanitarian crisis as a result of the abuse of power and a political decision to evict rather than assist relocation – and I owe it to pastor Derich: the trustees who asked me and also the 822 homeless: sick and dying people that in 2004 had nowhere to go but The Ark. I am doing it to rebuild The Ark and to make sure this type of thing never happens again in the 278 municipalities in South Africa.”

Munns is taking over the fight from the late controversial Pastor Derech de Nysschen, who passed away in October 2004.

De Nysschen was reportedly fighting with the municipality since 2002 and argued that the building was in a state of disrepair due to the lack of funds.

He was also fighting a rape and assault conviction of an underage girl in 1996 and 1997, and faced up to 15 years behind bars, IOL reported in 2004.

In 2002, De Nysschen told IOL that falling masonry, broken ceilings and beams, weakened infrastructure and underground water leaks were just some of the serious problems plaguing the shelter, which also acted as fuel for the municipality to demolish the building.

At the time, De Nysschen said problems facing the Ark were aggravated by its uncertain future. He also explained that the shelter applied to move to Albert Park, but this request was reportedly rejected by residents.

The late pastor applied for the stay of the shelter’s final eviction notice, which was turned down in early 2004.

The Ark was demolished to construct a shopping centre and modern offices at the Point Waterfront, Property24 reported in 2006. According to Daily Maverick, although improvements have been made to the building, it remains empty and fenced off, but not yet demolished.

It was further reported that if Munns wins the civil case against the eThekwini municipality, the over R500 million he is suing the municipality for would be used to build another Ark that would house more homeless people.

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Source: The Citizen