Eviction attorney cape Town Archives | Eviction Lawyers South Africa

Land occupiers voice desperation over ‘threats and intimidation’

By | Eviction news, Homeless

Reprinted from iol.com, by Nomzamo Yuku – 2023-02-04

Cape Town – The Khoisan community claiming to be the original land owners of Knoflokskraal in Grabouw and Klutjieskraal in Wolseley, say government is pushing them beyond their limits with illegal evictions and threats.

They spoke following a reported attack by security members deployed at the Knoflokskraal, who allegedly ordered a resident to vacate his home after he attempted to expand his property, last month. They said the security team was accompanied by police officers and that after failing to give the residents a court order for the eviction, they allegedly destroyed the extended structure and told them they would be back to order them to leave their homes.

The two informal settlements were allegedly established two years ago when many say they lost their incomes and could not afford to pay rent anymore and invaded unoccupied land. The two pieces of land belong to the National Department of Public Works, and there have allegedly been illegal evictions ever since.

“We can’t live like this anymore. These people do as they please to us any time they want, threatening to destroy our homes. We fought this battle last year and just when we thought it is over they come again. If it wasn’t for the community I would be homeless. Our only defence was to demand the court order of which they couldn’t provide. We want the the municipality and the department of public works to stop this. We are not criminals, we can’t live in fear every day of our lives,” said Adnaan Backett, 58.

Patricia de Lille, Minister of the national Department of Public Works and Infrastructure said: “The occupants were restricted from building new structures on the properties as per the Containment Order that is currently in place.”

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Malcolm Pojie confirmed that police attended to the matter.

The incident angered the Khoisan community as the Klutjieskraal dwellers, who witnessed homes destroyed until January 28, recalled how the disabled and sick Christopher Steyn, 60 , was left homeless in December 2022, when structures were illegally destroyed without a court interdict. The community opened cases with police against the law enforcement security company, which they say, was in vain.

“I couldn’t believe it when I heard they attacked residents again in Knoflokskraal. Our case is not resolved yet, there’s been no feedback and my fear is that if they do it that side, they usually come for us too. The communities were started almost at the same time and it’s no secret that they’re being targeted. But where must we go if they don’t give us land. As sick and disabled as I am, I’ll defend my rights to be on this land if I have to. Our people, all over the country are victims but yet are not provided with basic needs, where must they live? Government must stop these evictions,“ Steyn said.

Pojie confirmed that Wolseley Police are investigating cases of malicious damage to property.

He said police are tasked with safeguarding the sheriff of the court and are not involved in the demolition of any structures, “nor the intimidation of such. The local authority usually appoints a company to execute the demolition of illegal structures as per court order or interdict.”

Meanwhile, Andy Wynard, community leader at the Knoflokskraal insettlement said authorities were quick to respond and attack people but disregard important issues such as service delivery. He said public works needed to grant permits to the municipalities to provide services instead of fighting them over the land.

“Give dignity to the people, don’t victimise them. Our youth is tired of this…We don’t want to protest or be violent,” he said.

“We can’t have this in our country, our soil and our inheritance,” concluded Yulanda Wakefield, the chairperson of the Klutjieskraal Core Group, saying in last month alone, about eight homes were demolished with the last incident on January 28.

De Lille said there was no eviction order against the said properties. She said the future of the property has not yet been determined since the lease with the department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment expired.

For further information

Simon Dippenaar & Associates, Inc. is a Cape Town law firm of specialist eviction lawyers, 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 simon@sdlaw.co.za if you are concerned about unlawful eviction or if you need advice on the eviction process.

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Communicare wins eviction case against Ruyterwacht tenants in rent arrears of R1.6 million

By | Eviction news, Evictions

Reprinted from iol.com, by Mwangi Githahu – 2022-12-01

Cape Town – Social housing giant Communicare has welcomed a judgment in the Western Cape High Court in a case it brought against several tenants of its Sakabula apartment complex in Ruyterwacht over R1.6 million in rent arrears.

The Communicare-owned entity, Goodfind Properties, succeeded in getting the court to evict the tenants who opposed the case, but in his ruling Judge Derek Wille granted the evicted tenants two extra months to vacate the premises.

Communicare chief operating officer Makhosi Kubheka said they relied on tenants honouring their rental agreements, but when the tenants failed to do so, Communicare was left with no option but to let the law take its course.

“This was the last resort after we tried to negotiate the settlement of their arrears. It is unfortunate that it has to end this way. It is not fair, however, to our legal and paying tenants when they have to foot the bill for those who don’t pay,” Kubheka said.

Before the court for determination were nine opposed applications for the eviction of different tenants from the apartments managed by Goodfind Properties, a company fully owned by Communicare.

Judge Wille said he heard all the applications together as directed by the judge president as the factual issues were all very similar in nature, while the legal issues were all identical.

The court had to determine whether Goodfind made a case for the evictions and, if so, on what date the evictions should be carried out, considering among other things the personal circumstances of the tenants who were the respondents in the case.

Judge Wille said Goodfind asked the tenants to bring their rental arrears up to date but that in each case the tenants had failed to respond to Goodfind’s demand letters.

“Despite the leases being cancelled and the respondents having been called upon to vacate the property, they have failed to do so and remain in unlawful occupation.”

The tenants had claimed in their opposition to the evictions that the eviction applications should not be entertained pending the finalisation of a similar matter in another court; that Communicare is an organ of the state and that there is a challenge as to the ownership of the property.

However, the judge said the tenants had put up no primary facts in support of their legal and technical arguments.

He said this was despite the respondents having been invited to detail their personal circumstances and engage with and complete the relevant prescribed questionnaires for processing by the City, which was recorded as the fifth respondent in court papers.

“They all declined to do so. Accordingly the court is left with no information pertaining to the personal circumstances of the various respondents.”

For further information

Simon Dippenaar & Associates, Inc. is a Cape Town law firm of specialist eviction lawyers, 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 simon@sdlaw.co.za if you are concerned about unlawful eviction or if you need advice on the eviction process.

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Eviction rights and wrongs – does PIE apply to a guest house?

By | Evictions, PIE, Tenants

Do your guest house or Airbnb guests have PIE rights?

What happens when guests book into an Airbnb property or a guest house and then refuse to leave?  This happens more often than you might think, especially with Airbnb lets, because the hosts are usually ordinary homeowners with a bit of extra space, which they let out to supplement their income. Airbnb is built on the premise of the “sharing economy”, where people share underused assets for cash. Because most Airbnb hosts are not professional landlords, guests may take advantage of the more relaxed relationship. There are also questions raised about how well Airbnb oversees the whole process of hosting and being a guest. The website airbnbhell.com is a platform for hosts and guests alike to vent about their bad experiences, and there are many. One guest sublet the Airbnb property she was staying in to a film company for a TV commercial shoot! Do Airbnb guests have PIE rights?

Evictions under lockdown

The past two years have been strange and taxing for all of us. We have been living under a national state of disaster, of varying levels, which has impacted on normal policies and procedures. Under Alert Levels 5 and 4, no evictions were permitted. 

The current state of affairs

We are still living under an adjusted Alert Level 1. Though certain restrictions were eased on 31 December 2020, the prohibition against eviction remains. In the words of the Disaster Management Act Regulations: “A person may not be evicted from his or her land or home or have his or her place of residence demolished for the duration of the national state of disaster unless a competent court has granted an order authorising the eviction or demolition.” The Act goes on to cite a range of conditions that must be met in order for an eviction order to be executed.

What does this mean for Airbnb hosts and guest house proprietors?

The alert levels have changed regularly over the past two years, up and down the scale of severity, so it’s not surprising that some guests are taking their hosts for a ride. They claim protection not only under the Disaster Management Act but also under the Prevention of Illegal Eviction Act – PIE.

However, PIE does not apply to guest houses, hostels or Airbnb premises. A case appeared before the Western Cape High Court 10 years ago – Yussuf and Another v Ye Khan Investments CC and Another. Applicants claimed that the premises they occupied constituted a hostel and not a guest house, and they were entitled to protection from eviction.

The judge found for the respondents, saying that the PIE Act “…was passed to provide some protection to squatters and other persons who were occupying land or premises unlawfully and without any leases because they were desperate and had no other form of shelter or home.” A guest house does not qualify for protection in terms of the PIE Act because “…occupants in a guest house are occupying the premises for a fixed period of time with the express consent of the owner or the person in charge of the premises. This is a commercial property, like a hotel, which provides for short-term occupation of persons who are visitors and not to persons who are long-term occupiers of land or property because they have nowhere else to live.” 

Protection for destitute persons

The judge continued, “I also do not accept that there is a difference between a ‘guest house’ and a ‘hostel’ which would render the latter susceptible to the provisions of the Pie Act, but not the former…That is not the purpose of the Act or the Constitution which provides protection to persons who are destitute and have taken refuge in some or other property because they have nowhere to live. The Act cannot be applicable to persons who move into a guest house or hotel.”


Airbnb was founded in 2008 but did not arrive in South Africa until 2010. At the time of the aforementioned judgment,  Airbnb was not a significant player in the accommodation industry and was not mentioned in the case. However, despite being untested in case law, Airbnb functions as a guest house or hotel for its users and is usually chosen as an alternative to these types of traveller accommodation. Therefore, it is hard to imagine an Airbnb guest being treated any differently in law to a guest house or hotel guest.

Get professional help from a leading eviction attorney in Cape Town

If you are an Airbnb host or guest house/hotel proprietor with a guest who has outstayed their reservation, give eviction attorney Simon Dippenaar a call on 086 099 5146. SD Law is law firm in Cape Town with expertise in property matters including rental housing, eviction and conveyancing. We can help you resolve your eviction case swiftly and legally. You can also email Simon at sdippenaar@sdlaw.co.za.

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*This is an updated version of an article that first appeared on 05 May, 2021.