City sued for 'xenophobia' tent damage
A new controversy about the spate of xenophobic attacks that gripped South Africa four years ago has arisen in the Cape Town High Court.
A company that leased tents to the City of Cape Town to accommodate thousands of displaced foreigners during the violence of 2008 is suing for close to R1-million for loss and damage.
Locals turned on foreigners in May 2008 and drove them out of the townships. The city sheltered some of the victims in emergency camps in Cape Town.
In papers before the court the company, Distinctive Choice, says it leased 15 880m² of marquee tent space to the city at a rate of R50 a square metre a week.
The company said it had "concluded a partly oral, partly written contract" with the city binding it to return the tents in the "same condition as they were when erected". The city has denied agreeing to pay for loss of or damage to the tents.
"The parties agreed that the defendant would not be held liable for any loss or damage suffered as result of the supply and erection of the tents at the emergency sites," the city said.
"[Distinctive Choice] would be liable for and secure its own insurance to indemnify itself against any such potential loss."