As a bulldozer accompanied by metro police officers flattened the church yesterday morning, congregants hurriedly tried to gather the church’s valuables .
The church had consisted of a massive tent and side buildings, including corrugated iron structures and brick and mortar buildings.
The bulldozing continued despite pastors trying to show Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department officials a court order stipulating that no evictions should be carried out.
But JMPD officials produced a 2009 court order giving the city permission to act against “unlawful invaders of public land in Eldorado Park … (and) Soweto”.
The court order, which was shown to Sowetan, did not specify any demolitions. Instead it restricts the “building of anything on public land”.
But Pastor Joseph Shondlana said the city got its wires crossed because his church was on privately owned land.
“We went to court to challenge the Johannesburg Property Company which claimed we were on their land,” said Shondlana.
He showed Sowetan a one-page copy of a court order dated June 28 2012 that states: “The court grants the following order: Without admission of any liability and purely as a mechanism of convenience, the first respondent (JPC) undertakes that, pending the hearing of part B, it will not attempt to evict first and second respondent without a court order under this or any other case number authorising such action.”
Shondlana said “part B” was another pending legal dispute about ownership of the land between the church and “private parties”.