Evict Archives | Eviction Lawyers South Africa

Dozens of brick and mortar homes built by occupiers demolished on Monday

By | Commercial eviction, Eviction news, Evictions

Public Works claims it only demolished newly built and incomplete homes

Photo: Johnnie Isaac

Hundreds of people who occupied land belonging to the Department of Public Works near the East London Airport were left homeless on Monday when their homes were demolished.

Hundreds of people who occupied land near the East London Airport were left homeless on Monday when their homes were demolished.

At least 100 homes, some made of concrete blocks and mortar, were built on a piece of land belonging to the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure.

Some residents watched as the heavy machinery demolished their homes. Others anxiously await the return of the court sheriff who had warned of further demolitions this week. Community leaders estimate that the building materials lost add up to hundreds of thousands of rand.

Several people claimed that they had bought plots for between R500 and R15,000, but community dnied this.

Thabile Manuel had just moved into her home in June after spending nearly a year building it. “I am in deep pain with what is happening right now. We have lost everything we have put towards building this house. We did not even get eviction notices. We just saw the police coming and demolitions starting,” she said.

Other residents told GroundUp they had received eviction notices but only when the court sheriff arrived with the police. The notice dated back to 2017.

Thembile Ndibaza claims that they were given permission to occupy the land. “When we showed those agreements to the police, they told us that those papers are not legitimate. The sheriff is using a letter dated 2017 for a different piece of land, not this one.”

Ndibaza said they decided to build on the land a few years ago because it had become a crime hotspot. “Women used to get raped here, dead bodies dumped here and stolen livestock also got slaughtered here. Since we built houses, those activities stopped,” he said.

Another resident, Lulama Rantjie, said, “We are left with nothing. They took our furniture and our building material. We don’t know where we are going to sleep.”

Department of Public Works and Infrastructure spokesperson Lunga Mahlangu said residents were warned about pending evictions because the land is not designated for housing.

“We only demolished new structures, unoccupied structures and structures that were under construction. Those structures fell on the piece of land that is not designated for human settlemen; it interferes with the airport runway,” said Mahlangu.

It is unclear if the department will obtain a court order for the remaining homes.

Reprinted from GroundUp by

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

Further Reading:

Can a landlord evict you without 30 day notice?

By | Eviction notice

Eviction notice 30 days

Can a landlord evict you without a 30 day notice?

A frequently asked question by landlords and tenants alike is whether a landlord can evict a tenant without a 30 day notice?

The short answer is: no; but it depends.

To elaborate:

One cannot evict anyone without proper legal notification.

This means that one must notify a tenant in writing of any intention to evict them.

This notice needs to be delivered to the tenant, usually at the property.

The manner of service of the notice matters.

We recommend that you serve a legal notification by at least registered mail to the property, and hand deliver to the tenant at the property, with a witness.

If the tenant refuses to accept the notice, or is not at the property at the time of hand delivery, then once can affix the notice to the boundary gate, or front door.

Take a photograph of this, and depose to a service affidavit to this effect, with the witness also confirming this, by means of a confirmatory affidavit.

This can be done at the local South African police station, law firm, or with any duly authorised South African commissioner of oaths.

These delivery tactics will ensure you generate sufficient evidence of delivery.

There can be no question regarding giving proper notice.

Some times a landlord will WhatsApp or email the notice; this is not sufficient in our opinion.

If one goes to court to get an eviction order, a Judge/Magistrate wants to see evidence that an owner/landlord has notified the occupier/tenant of their intention to effect.

While an occupier may acknowledge receipt of notices send electronically, it has been our experience that courts want more than this.

If you do not give proper notice, and launch a court application, you may get to court, and have your matter dismissed because you failed to properly attend to this important pre-court step.

This will waste a lot of time and money.

Since eviction applications involve constitutional rights to adequate housing, a fundamental right, courts are conservative when ordering any infringement of this right.

At the very least, they want to see that the pre court procedures have been followed.

No Judge will order an eviction, if an occupier has not been adequately notified of circumstances negatively affecting their rights to housing.

Different circumstances require different notice periods, but in general, one needs to give 30 days notice before approaching court.

It is insufficient to just send a notice, which is essentially a letter, wait for the time to expire, and then remove the occupier yourself.

At the end of the notice period, that is the time to apply to court for a court order.

You will need the help of an experienced eviction lawyer to do this.

The process is too technical, and if one tries to do it oneself, one will make mistakes that will cost even more time and money.

The eviction process, post notification stage, involves drafting and serving various affidavits, and approaching court on at least two occasions; more if the matter is opposed.

In our next article we will discuss the difference between an unopposed and an opposed eviction.

In conclusion, one cannot evict without a 30 day notice. If you try do this, you may act illegally, and may face serious negative legal consequences.

Email Simon at sdippenaar@sdlaw.co.za for more about what to do and not do to successfully navigate the eviction process.

Further reading