Court bid to stop evictions in Observatory delayed

By | Uncategorized
File picture: African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town – Observatory informal settlement’s residents’ bid to finalise an interdict to prevent the City from “harassing and evicting” them was postponed for negotiations in the Western Cape High Court on Monday.

It comes after the group alleged that over the past few months the City had sent law enforcement to harass and threaten them with evictions, making their lives even more difficult during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The Singabalapha informal settlement, situated along Main Road in Observatory, consists of tents and shacks housing more than 150 people.

Community leader Barbara Vuza said that in April, the City tried to force them to “relocate” to the “concentration camp” it had built in Strandfontein, the same camp which has now been closed.

“Despite our homes making up the Singabalapha informal settlement, the City sent its law enforcement to fine us R300 to R1 000 for imaginary by-law contraventions that do not even apply to informal settlements.”

Vuza said that instead of helping the metro’s poor, the City has been at odds with many people and organisations which are trying to improve their living conditions.

“Singabalapha, by occupying housing and land in the suburbs, is a model for what the government calls ‘Integrated Human Settlements’.

“It’s clear that this City is always pushing the poor to the peripheries. It would rather go to the court and waste lots of money instead of working to build housing for the poor in the inner city.

“The City of Cape Town is fighting tooth and nail so that no poor black people will be accommodated in the CBD and the wealthy suburbs,” she said.

The City’s acting executive director for safety and security, Wayne le Roux, said: “The City of Cape Town cannot comment on this matter as the sub judice rule applies.”.

Reprinted from IOL by Siphokazi Vuso

Simon Dippenaar & Associates, Inc. is a firm of specialist eviction lawyers, based in Cape Town and now operating in Johannesburg and Durban, helping both landlords and tenants with the eviction process. Contact one of our attorneys on 086 099 5146 or if you need advice on the eviction process or if you are facing unlawful eviction.

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Khayelitsha residents ‘evicted twice’ during lockdown

By | Eviction news, Uncategorized

The City of Cape Town claims people who are believed to have occupied shacks in the Empolweni settlement in Khayelitsha, Cape Town were recently evicted from backyards elsewhere.

The City of Cape Town claims people who are believed to have occupied shacks in the Empolweni settlement in Khayelitsha, Cape Town were recently evicted from backyards elsewhere. (David Harrison/M&G)

This Easter weekend the city’s anti-land invasion unit tore down structures it says were uninhabited.

Law enforcement officers armed with riot shields and rubber bullets later clashed with people who protested the city’s actions.

But residents and civil society groups say the demolitions fly in the face of the national lockdown regulations to curb the spread of the coronavirus. About 100 people were affected by the operation.

The city’s mayoral committee member for human settlements, Malusi Booi, said the city had not ordered an eviction, but rather the demolition of unoccupied structures.

Booi said people who were in the process of occupying these structures claim to have been recently evicted from backyard dwellings elsewhere. “We have a court prohibiting the erection of any structure. We have a housing project earmarked for that land, so these people wanted to invade the land so that they can be prioritised, and that can’t be the case,” he added.

Booi said the city was not willing to negotiate with residents. But is willing to help iron out disputes with their former landlords who evicted them from their original backyard dwellings.

“When people are doing illegal activities, there is no negotiating. There are clear regulations around evictions. So, in the first case, they shouldn’t have left their points of origin where they were staying. The lockdown regulations are clear: evictions are prohibited. It’s those landlords who have contravened the current regulations by removing those people,” he said.

The city said it had no space to house residents temporarily, but would intervene in negotiations with their former landlords.

Moratorium on evictions

Meanwhile, the Ndifuna Ukwazi law centre has stepped in to assist the affected people, describing the city’s actions as unlawful.

Lawyer Mpho Raboeane said the organisation had written to the office of President Cyril Ramaphosa, informing him of the City of Cape Town’s actions and calling for him to intervene.

At the outset of the national lockdown, a moratorium on all evictions was put in place to ensure that people were not left outside exposed and at risk of contracting the coronavirus.

“We want to bring this to the attention of the national command council that municipalities are seemingly not heeding the moratorium on evictions that is supposed to be in effect during the lockdown period,” Raboeane said.

She has also dismissed the city’s claims the area was unoccupied, saying people had been living there since 2019.

“We have statements from some of the residents that they’ve been residing on that property from as far back as September; some have been there since January. The city’s narrative that these residents are opportunistic and that they are taking advantage of this lockdown period to invade is factually incorrect,” she added.

Lawyers for the residents say they also have not been furnished with the court order the city says it has in its possession.

Source: MG (emphasis by SD Law*)

* SD Law, aka Simon Dippenaar & Associates, is a law firm in the heart of Cape Town and Johannesburg, assisting landlords and tenants with the eviction process. Contact one of specialised eviction lawyers for assistance with any illegal eviction activities, eviction court order, or notices. Our Durban eviction lawyers are also available to help clients in KZN.

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Eviction hearings to continue during Covid-19 epidemic

By | Uncategorized

It will be business as usual at most courts

Photo of Chief Justice
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng addresses the media in Midrand. Photo: Elna Schütz

It will be business as usual at most courts across South Africa. Most cases like the issuing and execution of eviction orders are expected to run their course. This is according to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and the Heads of Court who released a statement late on Monday, describing the judiciary’s plan to deal with the spread of COVID-19.

Mogoeng, responding to a question from GroundUp at a press conference in Midrand on Tuesday, said that if a property owner decided to have people evicted for any reason “we expect the normal course of litigation to be followed and for any presiding officer handling that matter to apply the normal principles”. Referring to high profile cases which usually draw significant crowds to the court, the Chief Justice said officials presiding over such cases would have to consider the number of people that would be allowed both inside and outside courts.

Mogoeng said this applied to other situations like protests, which were not banned but discouraged should it involve more than 100 people at a time.

The number of people allowed in and around courtrooms is expected to decrease but the judiciary will remain operational, it plans to implement a range of measures to keep staff and members of the public safe. These include disinfecting judiciary offices and spaces; regular sanitization at all entrances and exits; and the provision of handheld infrared scanners and protective equipment to some staff.

People inside courtrooms will be expected to keep at least a meter between one another and not break the gathering ban. There will also be increased sanitation efforts for contact between accused and prisoners, the police and judiciary staff.

While there will be some restrictions of who is allowed into courtrooms, the media and some supporters, such as small groups of family members and organisations supporting open justice, will be allowed.

Mogoeng said that this decision was informed by the principle that “justice must not just be done but be seen to be done.”

Source: GroundUP (emphasis by SDLAW*)
*SDLAW, otherwise known as Simon Dippenaar & Associates Inc., is a national wide law firm, of specialists Cape Town eviction lawyers, Johannesburg eviction lawyers, and Durban eviction lawyers. If you need help with the eviction process, an eviction notice, evicting a tenant, or defending yourself against an illegal eviction, contact us now at or +27 (0) 86 099 5146.
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