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City of Cape Town Archives | Eviction Lawyers South Africa

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.

Related reading:

‘CoCT acting on land invasion, NOT evicting people during lockdown’

By | Eviction news

12 April 2020 10:49 AM

The City of Cape Town vehemently denies it is contravening lockdown regulations, after the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) on Saturday posted footage of law enforcement officials removing people from a piece of land in Makhaza, Khayelitsha.

In an article by GroundUp, published on News24, a community leader says former backyarders moved onto the land in desperation because they can’t pay rent, with lockdown restricting the ways they used to earn a living.

SJC general secretary Axolile Notywala maintains that officials did not identify themselves and that the City does not have a court order for the removals.

Notywala also posted a video which he says shows himself and another man being pepper sprayed inside a van after their arrest.

According to the law they must speak to residents and tell them to remove the structures that they say were unfinished, although some people had been living there for quite some time now… A number of people started staying there late last year in September… a number said they had been there for about two weeks now…

Axolile Notywala, General secretary – Social Justice Coalition

While they were telling residents to go into their homes and stay there Notywala says, the City’s law enforcement officers arrived and went straight ahead with demolishing the structures.

He draws a distinction between what’s legally defined as unlawful occupiers and the term “illegal“.

What is illegal in terms of the PIE Act is an eviction that is done without a court order, and in our understanding the City has an interdict and has used interdicts in many evictions. The City is supposed to protect its own land and apparently this interdict is from 2018 and so a lot of people wouldn’t even know about that.

Axolile Notywala, General secretary – Social Justice Coalition

They should stop saying that people are illegally invading – people are unlawfully occupying land, that’s what the law says.

Axolile Notywala, General secretary – Social Justice Coalition

In our view, the people that were breaking the law were the City of Cape Town’s law enforcement officers. We have never encouraged people to occupy land. What we’re saying is that if and when that happens, everyone must follow the law.

Axolile Notywala, General secretary – Social Justice Coalition

Responding to the allegations, Mayco Member for Human Settlements Malusi Booi vehemently denies the SJC’s assertion that some people had been on the land since 2019, saying they occupied the land on Wednesday.

He notes there is a moratorium on evictions during the lockdown period but not on action over land invasions.

That’s why even the High Court in Durban has also given the Ethekweni municipality the right to go and remove illegal structures. We are working within the parameters of the law

Malusi Booi, Mayco Member for Human Settlements – CoCT

These people are the ones who are contravening the law because they were supposed to stay where they were up until the lockdown is lifted… They invaded the land this week, during the lockdown period.

Malusi Booi, Mayco Member for Human Settlements – CoCT

The landlords are the ones evicting people. The City of Cape Town is not evicting people… They [landlords] are the ones who are in the wrong. Now they’ve led people to contravene the law.

Malusi Booi, Mayco Member for Human Settlements – CoCT

They [backyarders] must indicate to us as government who is evicting them so that action can be taken against those people… Evictions are prohibited.

Malusi Booi, Mayco Member for Human Settlements – CoCT

Booi, Mayco says the City is removing the structures and people will have to go back to where they were living.

He adds that the City is busy with discussions at various levels to address overcrowding.

Listen to the two arguments in the audio below:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : [VIDEO] ‘CoCT acting on land invasion, NOT evicting people during lockdown’

Source: 702 (emphasis by SD Law*)

* SD Law, aka Simon Dippenaar & Associates Inc., is a law firm, operating nation wide, of specialised eviction attorneys. Contact SD Law for help with the eviction process, eviction notices, evicting a tenant, or defending against an illegal eviction.