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eviction lawyer Archives | Eviction Lawyers South Africa

Covid-19: Shackdwellers lose court case to stop demolitions

By | Eviction news

The Durban High Court dismissed Abahlali baseMjondolo’s application to interdict the City from continuing with ongoing shack demolitions in Ekuphumeleleni and Azania Informal Settlemnets. Photo: Nokulunga Majola

Covid-19 does not mean that there must be a holiday in respecting the laws of the country, says Durban mayor.

First published by GroundUp

Shackdweller movement Abahlali baseMjondolo failed to secure an interdict against the Ethekwini Municipality to stop what it says are illegal evictions.

Abahlali went to the Durban High Court on Tuesday saying the City had violently evicted residents of Ekuphumeleleni in Marianhill and Azania in Cato Manor.

The Covid-19 lockdown regulations put a halt to any evictions even if there is a court order. However, the City is still empowered to halt “land invasions” and to demolish “unoccupied shacks”, which is what the City’s land invasion unit claims it was doing when it destroyed shacks in the two settlements.

But Abahlali says this is the City’s “routine response”, and over the years the movement has won numerous cases by collecting detailed evidence in the form of photographs and affidavits proving long term residence in shacks that were demolished.

According to the movement, on Monday Judge Mohini Moodley asked both parties to discuss the matter and find solutions on their own.

Abahlali wanted to rebuild shacks. The City refused. It offered alternative accommodation in emergency camps set up for homeless people during the lockdown.

But Abahlali movement said its members did not want to be moved to camps as there was no guarantee that they would be able to return to the land where they are part of a community, and close to their employment and the schools their children attend.

They were also worried about conditions in the camps, including the difficulty of social distancing and the high percentage of people with serious untreated addiction issues.

“Some of the women who had been evicted did not feel that these camps would be safe for them and their children,” said Abahlali’s deputy president Mqapheli Bonono in a statement.

Abahlali’s legal team argued that the City’s own evidence showed that shacks were occupied prior to the evictions: “The photographs that we have shared of the evictions, which can be seen on our Facebook page, clearly show beds, mattresses, other furniture and a fridge amidst the remains of the shacks that were destroyed.”

However, Judge Moodley was not convinced.

Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said the matter was “ laden with disinformation aimed at ruining the City’s image”.

“Covid-19 does not mean that there must be a holiday in respecting the laws of the country … We are a caring municipality and have mobilised resources to provide shelter to more than 4,000 homeless people.”

“Over and above that, we have ensured that we meet the needs of our residents living in informal settlements, hostels and transit camps to protect them against contracting this lethal virus. Why would we demolish shacks that are occupied by the poorest of the poor?” said Kaunda.

“People are really scared,” said Bonono. “They don’t know what will happen tonight, tomorrow or the next day. We all fear that there will be more violence. The situation in which we have suddenly found ourselves in is very uncertain. In this lockdown, we cannot use the streets or the courts in the way that we have done so successfully during 15 years of struggle against evictions.”

“State violence and evictions became particularly urgent during this time of worldwide health crisis in which impoverished people are most at risk,” he said. DM (emphasis by SD Law*)

* SD Law aka Simon Dippenaar & Associates Inc., is a law firm of specialised eviction lawyers in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg. Contact one of our professional eviction lawyers for help with the eviction process.

Glen Marikana residents ready for their first day of relocation

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

Current structures that will be left behind after the relocation will be destroyed by the City.

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Residents of Glen Marikana Informal Settlement will be relocated to a new site in Putfontein as from today [Monday, 24 Feb].

This follows an eviction order granted by the Johannesburg High Court in November 2018, instructing the City of Ekurhuleni to seek an alternative residential site for the close to 3 000 residents who had illegally occupied private land on Dann Road in Glen Marais since 2017.

Member of Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Human Settlements, Clr Lesiba Mpya, announced the relocation date during a meeting with the affected households recently.

“Our role as a responsible government is to comply with the court order and move our people to a safe and secure place. We are currently engaged in a verification process to ensure that every occupant’s name is the one that appears in the court order,” Mpya  said.

The MMC also said work began in earnest in reblocking the new site so that when the new occupants arrive, they have access roads and stand pipes, including ablution facilities.

“We will provide transportation for the residents to make sure they settle well at their new site which they would call home,” he said.

Current structures that will be left behind after the relocation will be destroyed by the City.

Samuel Motshali, one of those affected dwellers, said: “I am originally from Limpopo and I have been here for the past three years after losing my job and couldn’t afford to pay rent.”

Community leader Kwena Monama said people would start packing their belonging on Saturday in readiness for the relocation on Monday.

“We are constantly communicating with the MMC’s office and we are ready to be moved to our new site,” he said.

Reprinted from Kempton Express – 2020-02-24. Emphasis/links by SD Law.

If you need help with an eviction matter…

We are eviction lawyers in Cape Town and Johannesburg. We act for both landlords and tenants and uphold the rights of each to a fair and satisfactory tenancy. If you are a landlord, we will make sure any eviction you undertake is fair and lawful. If you are a tenant and facing an unfair eviction, we will defend your rights. Contact Simon at Cape Town Eviction Attorneys on 086 099 5146 or email sdippenaar@sdlaw.co.za.

Further reading:

Wentworth residents protest in defence of woman’s forced removal

By | Uncategorized

Durban – A group of residents living in the south Durban township of Wentworth burnt tyres and debris on the road in a form of protest following an apparent eviction of a woman and her family at a block of flats on Friday.

At this stage, it is alleged that the woman and her family moved into the apartment of a previous resident who recently passed away.

When security and local authorities arrived to evict the woman, residents jumped to her defence.

They then set tyres alight, blocking off part of Austerville Drive and Goede Hoop Street.

“About 100 community members embarked in a protest action after an elderly woman was evicted  by the Sheriff of the Court after she occupied the flat illegally,” Provincial police spokesperson, Captain Nqobile Gwala, said

“They blockaded the Austerville Drive with burning tyres and rubble. The road has been cleared and police are monitoring,” Gwala said.

Residents have expressed their anger over the woman’s apparent forced removal. They are demanding that she be allowed to move into the flat as she has been living in the area for many years.

Reprinted from the Mercury News – 2020-02-21. Emphasis/links by SD Law.

If you need help with an eviction matter…

We are eviction lawyers in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and we believe the landlord-tenant relationship should be built on trust. We act for both landlords and tenants and uphold the rights of each to a fair and satisfactory tenancy. Make sure any eviction you undertake is fair and lawful. Contact Simon at Cape Town Eviction Attorneys on 086 099 5146 or email sdippenaar@sdlaw.co.za.

Further reading: