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R300 000 to be rid of squatters on his property

By | Uncategorized

Durban – A ZINKWAZI Beach property owner has coughed up more than R300000 in legal fees over the past three years in a bid to evict a couple “squatting” on his North Coast property.

Durban woman evicted after two years of occupying home illegally.

This week, Theo Chaplin took to Facebook to warn homeowners in Ballito, Salt Rock, Zinkwazi Beach and surrounding areas, to be on the lookout for the woman and her accomplice.

He said the woman had rented his property in Panorama Drive but defaulted on payment after two years.

“She paid no rent for the third year then squatted from December 2017 to June 2019,” he said.

The woman was finally evicted by the sheriff on June 11 this year.

This, after Durban High Court Judge Graham Lopes, granted an eviction order on May 31. He ordered the woman and all other occupants to vacate the property by June 10.

In his post, Chaplin wrote: “Big warning. If she gets into your property, by whatever means and declares herself “homeless”, and a squatter, then she is indeed protected by SA Law.

“The only way to evict her is through the High Court, which could take 2-3 years or more and about R300k for starters in legal fees,” he said.

He described the woman as a “stocky built white woman who changes her hair colour constantly, and has a baby”.

Her accomplice is described as a thin, black male.

“A few days after being evicted the gang came back and tried to re-enter the property. But they were chased away by the contractors I had hired to renovate the property,” he said.

The Prevention of Illegal Eviction Act states that no one can be evicted from the premises in which they are living without a court order.

Chantelle Gladwin-Wood, an attorney who practises property law at Schindlers Attorneys, said the rights of a person or entity to remain in occupation of a property varied according to several factors.

Gladwin-Wood said a landlord had the right to “retake possession” of the property if the tenant’s lease was cancelled, had lapsed or if there was another type of occupational right flowing from, for example, a servitude (which is a registered right that a person has over the immovable property of another) that has been cancelled or has lapsed.

With regard to the tenants’ rights, Gladwin-Wood said a “squatter” may refer to a person who is occupying a property in terms of a lease or other right of occupation that has now expired or been cancelled.

She said a “squatter” can also refer to a person who never had any right of occupation whatsoever.

Gladwin-Wood noted that the more appropriate term is “unlawful occupation” rather than a squatter.

She said unlawful occupiers have the right not to be evicted from their home without a court order.

“This does not give them a right to remain in occupation of the landlord’s property,” she said.

Reposted from The Mercury

Further reading:

Unlawful Evictions

Durban Evictions

The Sheriff in Town

Shack Evictions

*Simon Dippenaar & Associates, Inc. is a law firm in Cape Town, now operating in Gauteng and Durban, of specialised eviction attorneys, helping both landlords and tenants with the eviction process. Contact one of our eviction lawyers on +27 (0) 86 099 5146 or info@sdlaw.co.za if you have been evicted unlawfully.

‘Land occupation’ eviction processes to come under spotlight in Vrygrond case

By | Eviction news, Uncategorized

A court challenge in an ongoing demolish-and-rebuild stand-off between the City of Cape Town and residents in Vrygrond, near Muizenberg, may bring some clarity about eviction processes relating to the illegal occupation of land.

eviction procedures. eviction lawyers

The application, brought by some Vrygrond residents who previously protested over their plight, was supposed to heard in the Western Cape High Court on Friday, but was postponed for oral evidence.

“We don’t have the court date yet, but we expect it to be in this week still,” Mike Kumalo, chairperson of the Vrygrond Community Forum, said on Monday.

The applicants want clarity on whether the residents occupied the structures before June 18 when they were demolished; whether the City unlawfully evicted people when it demolished shacks on this date and whether it took away people’s belongings while doing so.

The applicants are the Vrygrond Community Forum, Nozingisa Mposi, Kunjulwa Menze, Ntombizanele Lindani, Mcebiseni Mpola, Siphamandla Blayi, Mncekeleli Qaweshe and Nothemba Mongo. The respondents are the City, the municipal manager and Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato. 

“Since some time last year, the City has been demolishing some homes [and] leaving some,” Kumalo told News24 on Friday. “We have been asking: ‘Why is the City inconsistent and what authority do they use to demolish people’s dwellings?'”

Shacks have been built on land between a landfill site and Vrygrond, named Xakabantu. 

Land earmarked for construction, then later nature reserve

Kumalo explained that this particular piece of land was originally earmarked for a housing development and residents were asked to leave to facilitate construction.

However, they had not seen any construction.

They moved back onto the land but then discovered it had been reclassified as part of a nature reserve, further complicating the issue.

Khumalo claimed there was no public participation that included the residents themselves. In addition, the issue of creating a buffer zone between Xakabantu and the landfill site and the nature reserve had also arisen.

In May 2018, the City obtained an interim interdict preventing the further building of houses and the demolition of any new houses.

Kumalo said it was nailed to a tree and that some people living there were later “given a number” by the City allowing them to stay, but not all were given a number.

This process in itself is causing friction between people who received a number and those who did not. There were also allegations of “number buying”.

Kumalo said the matter must be resolved once and for all because, as recently as June 18, more homes were demolished.

Electioneering

He added that residents felt that officials seemed to accept Xakabantu as a suburb when they went there for electioneering, but not at other times.

“During elections, law enforcement officials took pictures. People came to campaign. They said ‘Let people live there, let people stay;’ and then one day they decide: ‘Let’s go and break everything down.'” 

Residents want to know whether the City is following due process in the demolition of shacks.

On Friday, Judge Ashley Binns-Ward decided that the case should include oral evidence from witnesses. The case was postponed for an urgent date for the hearing from Judge President John Hlophe.

The Xakabantu issue comes weeks after the legality of a massive house-bulldozing operation in Johannesburg’s Alexandra was questioned. 

Source: News24

Get help from an eviction lawyer

For more information or help with an eviction matter, Contact Cape Town Eviction Attorney Simon on 086 099 5146 or email sdippenaar@sdlaw.co.za.

Related reading:

The Sheriff in Town

Durban evictions

Red Ants on the rampage

Victory for the landless

Court declares shack eviction unlawful

By | Eviction news, Homeless, Uncategorized

Tswelopele residents from Extension 8 won a legal victory against the EMPD and the City of Ekurhuleni on May 6 at the North Gauteng High Court.

The City of Ekurhuleni was ordered by the North Gauteng High Court on May 6 to desist from evicting land occupiers in Tswelopele Extension 8 without a court order. The City also has to pay each occupier R1 500 for damages to property that was caused during prior evictions.

Thandeka Chauke, a lawyer for Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), who represented the occupiers, said the order declared the evictions were unconstitutional and unlawful.

Residents of Tswelopele took to the streets on March 19 in protest against the lack of service delivery and land occupation. Their anger was directed at the DA councillor of Ward 9, Dereck Thompson.

They marched to the councillor’s office in Olifantsfontein, but he was not present. They demanded that the office give them the right to occupy the piece of land on which they had built their shacks.

Florah Tjabadi, the community protest leader, said they wanted to meet with the councillor but he did not arrive.

“We hoped to get the land because we are currently living in shacks as tenants. The properties also accommodate orphans and pensioners and the majority of tenants are unemployed,” said Tjabadi.

Unlawful eviction

The residents of Tswelopele Extension 8 have won a court victory against the EMPD and the City of Ekurhuleni.

Chauke said the court interdict would give the occupiers peace of mind because no one would repeatedly come and destroy their possessions.

Tjabadi said they were happy about winning.

“We have been trying to put a stop to the harassment since August last year and at last, we won. It means we won’t have to worry about paying rent and we can go out to look for jobs.”

Tjabadi claimed the EMPD had evicted the occupiers countless times, without ever showing the occupiers an eviction order. The first eviction was on December 16, four months after they took occupation of the land.

“We started to stay on the piece of land in August last year and we were chased away more than 10 times. Our belongings were scattered everywhere,” added Tjabadi.

The EMPD and the City withdrew their counter-application, but they previously argued in court papers that the occupiers did not live on the property and the structures were vacant or incomplete when they were demolished. They said the City did not need an eviction order to demolish vacant or incomplete structures.

“The structures were mostly incomplete and impossible for people to reside in and no children or elderly people were noted at the property,” the City said in earlier court papers.

Judge Anthony Millar ordered the City to launch an investigation into the alleged bribery and corruption of EMPD officials and to file a report with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, the National Prosecuting Authority and his court within 30 days of the court order. The City was ordered to pay the costs of the case.

Source: Tembisan (emphasis by SDLAW*)

Further reading:

*Simon Dippenaar & Associates, Inc. is a law firm in Cape Town, now operating in Gauteng and Durban, of specialised eviction attorneys, helping both landlords and tenants with the eviction process. Contact one of our eviction lawyers on +27 (0) 86 099 5146 or info@sdlaw.co.za if you have been evicted unlawfully.

Recognition, respect and ethical responsibility are at the core of our practice.

– Founder, Attorney Simon David Dippenaar