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CAMPS BAY MANSION OCCUPIERS SERVED WITH EVICTION ORDER

By | Eviction news, Eviction notice, Eviction orders, Evictions, Rent

The seven activists legally booked the house more than a week ago but have overstayed their welcome.

Image 123rf.com

CAPE TOWN – A group of activists illegally occupying a mansion in Camps Bay have been served with an eviction order.

The seven activists legally booked the house more than a week ago but have overstayed their welcome.

They only paid for a weekend.

Turnkey Property Management group said that it had been left with no other option but to take legal action.

The property management company had given the activists a chance to leave the house but they wouldn’t budge and pushed ahead with their protest.

Law professor, Elmien du Plessis said that before the COVID-19 lockdown under the Prevention of Illegal Evictions Act, homeowners had to first go to court then only would an eviction order be granted if deemed justifiable.

But under the state of disaster, she said that things worked differently now.

“The court will decide whether the people can be evicted and if the court says that it is just and equitable, then the court will give a date on which the people must leave the premises. That date, because of the regulations, may be suspended until after the state of disaster.”

Du Plessis said that it would be interesting to see in this case where people had rented holiday accommodation through Airbnb, if they would be deemed “illegal occupiers” in terms of the legislation.

Meanwhile, UWC land expert, Professor Ruth Hall said that under level 3, landlords or property owners could apply for eviction orders but it could not be enforced but now people could be evicted.

She added that one did not usually see this type of occupation.

“This eviction can be enforced, so this means that if a court order is made for the eviction of this group, it will be legal for them to be evicted.”

Contact us

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 eviction attorneys on 086 099 5146 or sdippenaar@sdlaw.co.za if you need advice on the eviction process or if you are facing unlawful eviction.

Reprinted from EWN by Kaylynn Palm

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UPDATE:

Camps Bay collective rejects housing assistance as eviction deadline looms

Shots fired as police and protesters clash over evictions

By | Eviction news, Eviction videos, Evictions, Protests

Reprinted from Talk of the Town, by Iavan Pijoos – 2020-09-29

Communities in the south of Johannesburg took to the streets on Monday morning to voice their frustration about possible evictions in the area.

Johannesburg metro cops and the police were out in full force in Lenasia South and Lawley early on Monday to contain protesters. Roads in the area were blocked with burning tyres, bags with rubbish, rocks and tree branches. Officers fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

By midday on Monday, traffic was flowing but some roads were still being lined with rubbish and rocks. Heavily armed officers and police nyalas stood on the side of the road.

Children were removing some of the rocks as motorists were driving past.

Ennerdale ward 7 councillor Danny Netnow told TimesLIVE that the protests erupted after unconfirmed reports about possible evictions in the area. Netnow said the people were also unhappy about water and electricity cuts in the informal settlement.

He said schools had been closed after the protests around Ennerdale.

In recent months, the Red Ants have demolished scores of illegally erected dwellings — some made of brick and mortar — in the area, under instruction from city officials.

Contact us

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 eviction attorneys on 086 099 5146 or sdippenaar@sdlaw.co.za if you need advice on the eviction process or if you are facing unlawful eviction. We also offer online consultations.

Further reading:

Lockdown rights enforced for residents of informal settlements in Cape Town

By | COVID 19, Eviction law case summaries, Eviction news, Evictions

The power of social media is immense. So much more than a mere communication tool, it’s a cornerstone of citizen journalism and can be one of the most effective ways in which ordinary people can tell important stories as they happen. What’s more, content posted on social media can be the grounds for legal action and meaningful change, as a case concerning lockdown rights recently heard at the Western Cape High Court clearly showed.

The naked man

On 1 July 2020, a video of a naked man being dragged out of his shack in an informal settlement in Khayelitsha went viral on social media. The man concerned, Bulelani Qolani, was removed from his home by City of Cape Town officials who were members of the Anti-Land Invasion Unit (ALIU). They destroyed his home shortly afterwards.

The ALIU is a specialised unit tasked with deciding which structures should be demolished on land they claim has been invaded. This work is conducted without a court order and typically refers to homes in informal settlements, which means that it usually affects some of South Africa’s most vulnerable people.

The video caused an outcry. It reminded people of the brutal forced removals that took place during apartheid, and demands for the judicial oversight of evictions and demolitions during the national state of disaster were heard. The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), a state institution that is mandated to promote respect for human rights, stepped forward in response.

Together with the Housing Assembly and Bulelani Qolani, the SAHRC brought a case against the City of Cape Town as well as the Minister of Human Settlements, the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the National Commissioner of the South African Police, the Minister of Police and the Western Cape Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS.

Lockdown rights infringed – not an isolated incident

The incident that occurred in Khayelitsha on 1 July wasn’t the only one of its kind. In fact, there were several others that took place during alert levels 3 and 4, despite that fact that evictions were meant to be suspended until the last day of the alert level period.

Some of the demolitions and evictions that occurred were as follows:

  • On 9 to 11 April 2020 in Empolweni Informal Settlement in Makhaza, Khayelitsha, the ALIU demolished structures on land owned by the City. Urgent relief was given by the Western Cape High Court to a number of residents whose structures were demolished. On 17 April, the court granted an interim order, ordering the City to return building materials confiscated from Empolweni and authorising residents to re-erect and occupy structures there for as long as the lockdown continues.
  • On 15 May 2020 in Ocean View, Kommetjie, evictions and demolitions took place on land that is privately owned by the Ocean View Development Trust. The City denied that evictions were conducted at the time, and said that ALIU had acted within its mandate to demolish illegally erected structures provided that they were unoccupied.
  • On 29 June 2020 in Hangberg, Hout Bay, the SAHRC received a complaint alleging that City officials had demolished a structure. The Western Cape High Court declared the City’s conduct unlawful and unconstitutional and emphasised that home demolitions could not be carried out without a court order during alert levels 3 and 4.
  • On 13 July 2020 in Zwelethu, Mfuleni, structures on land owned by the Western Cape Nature Conservation Board in Mfuleni, which joins city-owned land, were demolished. Many of the area’s residents are desperately poor and unemployed and have been the subject of at least seven evictions carried out without a court order.

“Bleeding and in pain”

Of course, there was also the incident that received the most attention – the one that took place in Khayelitsha on 1 July. The official court papers refer to the affidavit that Bulelani Qolani gave, in which he states that while the law enforcement officers were approaching, he went inside his home and prepared to bathe: 

“He stood outside his dwelling naked and asked to be allowed to finish his bath. The law enforcement officers sprayed his neighbour with pepper spray and forcibly gained entry into Mr Qolani’s dwelling, carrying batons and guns. On entering his structure, they were already pushing up the roof to tear it apart. 

“He asked to be shown an eviction order and told them it was illegal to evict during the lockdown period. They ignored his requests, he said, handled him physically and violently, pepper sprayed him and forcefully removed him from his house, whilst still naked and in full view of residents. As Mr Qolani tried to re-enter his house, he states they shoved him to the ground and one official knelt on his back while another held him down to stop him moving.

“Eventually, after quite a struggle, Mr Qolani got back into his house and sat on his bed, his head bleeding and in pain. Whilst he was still inside, he states, the demolition was completed.”

A precedent-setting judgment

On 20 and 21 August 2020, the case between the SAHRC as the first applicant and the City of Cape Town as the first respondent was heard at the Western Cape High Court. And on 25 August 2020, judgment was delivered.

In their judgment, Judges Shehnaz Meer and Rosheni Allie declared that the City of Cape Town ALIU will not be allowed to evict people or demolish occupied or unoccupied structures without a court order while the country remains in a state of national disaster. This landmark ruling is binding in the Western Cape and may set a precedent for other provincial courts too.

What’s more, if any evictions or demolitions are conducted with a court order in place, these must be conducted “in a manner that is lawful and respects and upholds the dignity of the evicted persons”. City officials are expressly prohibited from using force, the judges decreed, and from destroying or confiscating any material on the property concerned.

SAPS members will now have to be present during evictions and demolitions to ensure they are done lawfully, in line with South Africa’s Constitution and “in accordance with the SAPS’ constitutional duty to protect the dignity of the persons evicted”. In addition, the City was interdicted and restrained from considering, adjudicating and awarding any bids or tenders received in response to a tender specifically focused on the demolition of illegal formal and informal structures in Cape Town.

The court ordered the City to return all building material and personal possessions taken by the ALIU since 1 May, and to pay R2,000 to the people identified by the Economic Freedom Fighters.

But there’s more to come. In October, additional hearings will be held to determine whether demolitions or evictions can take place without a court order once the state of national disaster has ended. It’s likely that an important conversation has begun.

Contact us

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 eviction attorneys on 086 099 5146 or sdippenaar@sdlaw.co.za if you need advice on the eviction process or if you are facing unlawful eviction.

Reprinted from sdlaw.co.za

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