CASE SUMMARY by Simon Dippenaar & Associates Inc.*
Tadvest Industrial (Pty) Ltd / Hanekom and Others (Case no.: 83/2018)
In the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa
The Magistrates Court for the District of Stellenbosch granted orders for the eviction of the Hanekom family and the Jacobs family from a property situated in Stellenbosch. In both cases, the Magistrates Court, in addition to granting the eviction orders, ordered that the landlord pay the sum of R80,000.00 to each family in order to assist them in relocating and acquiring alternative accommodation. The families were ordered to vacate the premises within 90 days of payment of the aforementioned amount. The landlord appealed against the orders for payment, in both matters, to the Land Claims Court (LCC). The families cross-appealed against the orders for their eviction.
The LCC dismissed the landlords appeal but upheld the cross appeal, which had the effect of setting aside the eviction orders. The landlord then applied for and was granted leave by the LCC to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal in both matters. The appeals were subsequently struck from the roll as the court did not have jurisdiction to decide on the merits of the matter.
The court found that the provisions of section 16 of the Superior Courts Act read with section 19 determines the jurisdiction of the SCA to hear appeals from the High Court. Section 16(1)(c) of the Act provides for an appeal against any decision of a ‘court of a status similar to the High Court’. The LCC was found to be one such court. However, the LCC powers are limited to those possessed by a High Court having jurisdiction in civil proceedings. The Court found that because the High Court sitting as an appeal court lacks the power to grant leave to appeal to the SCA, as the special leave of the SCA is required in terms of s 16(1)(b) of the Act, the LCC also lacks the power to do so.
Where the LCC acts as an appeal court in respect of an eviction order granted by the Magistrates’ Court, an appeal only lies to the SCA with the special leave of this court. Therefore, the LCC sitting as an appeal court does not have the power to grant leave to appeal to the SCA. As such, the court had no jurisdiction to hear the appeals and the appeals were struck from the roll.
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*Simon Dippenaar & Associates Inc. are a firm of specialised eviction lawyers based in Cape Town and Gauteng, operating nationally.