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Eviction news Archives | Eviction Lawyers South Africa

Illegal evictions appeal: judgment reserved

By | Eviction news, Evictions, Homeless

Reprinted from iol.com, by Nicole Daniels – 2021-11-17

CAPE TOWN – Judgment has been reserved in the City’s appeal of an interim interdict granted by the Western Cape High Court last year, which prevents it from conducting evictions and demolitions of occupied and unoccupied structures during the National State of Disaster.

The matter before the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) stems from the public eviction of a naked Bulelani Qolani from his Khayelitsha home in July 2020.

The Legal Resource Centre (LRC), representing the respondents in the matter who include the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), the Housing Assembly and Qolani together with Mfuleni residents and the EFF, said: “Our clients opposed the application. Their position has mainly been that the interdict was appropriately granted by the Western Cape High Court as the facts and circumstances warranted the application.”

The City meanwhile said they could not yet comment.

“The City has no comment on the matter as judgment has been reserved and will comment once the court delivers its judgment.”

While judgment from the SCA is reserved, the parties also await a judgment from the Western Cape High Court which seeks “to declare the common law principle of counter-spoliation unconstitutional.”

Counter-spoliation relates to the legality of landowners’ right to forcibly take possession of their land from invaders without a court order.

The LRC said this case was important for many reasons, among them being that it “hones in the importance of judicial oversight and access to courts to the most vulnerable people in our society.”

“The eviction of Bulelani Qolani from his home in July 2020 displayed in full the horror of homelessness in Cape Town and its associated precarity. It is clear to anyone who watched the video that the eviction of Mr Qolani – in the midst of a pandemic that required people to stay home – that the actions of the City clearly conflicted the legislation around evictions, the moratorium on evictions, the regularly gazetted Disaster Management Regulations and do not conform with their Constitutional duties. These actions emphasised the crucial need for judicial oversight in any eviction,” the organisation said.


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 need advice on the eviction process or if you are facing unlawful eviction.

Further reading:

Image of homeless man pushing a trolley of possessions

Judgment reserved in District Six homeless eviction case

By | Eviction news, Homeless

The District Six eviction saga continues. Reprinted from News24, by Marvin Charles – 2021-10-01

The Western Cape High court has reserved judgment in the eviction case of 46 homeless people in District Six, whose structures were forcibly destroyed by law enforcement officials, two weeks ago.

The legal team for the City of Cape Town, argued that it had offered alternative accommodation in Philippi and said they would return the shelters that was taken from those affected.

Legal counsel, Roseline Nyman, told the court when law enforcement arrived at the scene, there were 60 people at the site.

“Whatever has been in the City’s possession, the City will return those items. When law enforcement officials arrived at that site, the majority of the people complied with the request to remove their goods and structures,” Nyman said.

She added that a handful of people became agitated with officials because they had no court order to remove the structures.

“The majority of people already had their items removed. Whatever [items] is at the site in Ndabeni, the City will return to them because what would the City do with it. The items were impounded and the homeless are entitled to receive them,” she said.

Nyman said 17 confiscation notices were issued to the homeless people, where their tents were removed.

Judge Rosheni Allie questioned whether the City had any inventory in place to indicate which items and property belonged to whom, to which Nyman responded that they had no inventory, and that the discretion was with the homeless.

Allie said:

There may as well be a squabble as to whose belongings are whose. If you have no inventory and items were taken, in addition to abandoned tents taken from people, who were not home, who’s to know what belongs to who.

Nyman stressed that a substantial number people living in District Six could be “undocumented foreigners”.

But Ndifuna Ukwazi’s lawyer, Ranjan Jaga, told the court while the country was in a national state of disaster, the City was removing people from their homes.

“The City must be considerate of the supreme law of this country and the Constitution of the country as well as the Disaster Management Act. I have not heard an argument about the state of disaster; we are in a national lockdown and it’s a pandemic. You cannot remove people from their home under this state of disaster,” Jaga said.

Jaga added the possessions of the homeless were not returned by the City.

“There are layers of legislation involved in this, like the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act (PIE ACT) which prohibits carrying out unlawful occupation,” he said.

Meanwhile, the City, on Wednesday, brought an urgent court application requesting that Allie recuse herself on grounds that she could be biased.

Allie dismissed the application with costs, saying she was not persuaded on a conspectus of all incidents during the course of the hearing.


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 need advice on the eviction process or if you are facing unlawful eviction.

Further reading:

City of Cape Town evicts homeless in District Six during massive operation

By | Eviction news, Evictions, Homeless

Reprinted from News 24, by Marvin Charles – 2021-09-20

The City of Cape Town has demolished several structures and tents occupied by homeless people on part of a stand earmarked for a land restitution settlement in District Six.

The evictions angered activists who say it forms part of a series of illegal evictions by the City. On Sunday a massive law enforcement operation was carried out, using trucks and cranes to remove the tents and personal belongings of homeless people who had been living there.

City Law Enforcement spokesperson Wayne Dyason said officers were enforcing the City’s by-laws.

“Law Enforcement confirms that the City’s Social Development Department offers assistance to help people get off the streets sustainably. The offer is to relocate them to one of the City’s Safe Spaces, or any night shelter. All people found on site are made this offer,” he said.

When asked whether the eviction was part of a court order, the City said it was carried out under its current by-laws.

In May the City urgently approached the Western Cape High Court for an interdict against people intending to illegally occupy the land, which is earmarked for District Six claimants who have waited decades for restitution after apartheid-era forced removals.

However, over the last few months tents were pitched at various open spaces in the CBD and surrounds.

Last month, law enforcement officers evicted 21 people living in tents and informal structures next to the Green Point Tennis Court. At the time Ndifuna Ukwazi said the eviction occurred without law enforcement officers producing a court order authorising the eviction.

Jared Sacks, a social justice activist, was at the site in District Six while Law Enforcement destroyed the structures, saying:

I noticed that there were more than 10 Law Enforcement vehicles present plus a number of other removal trucks. I noticed that Law Enforcement was overseeing an operation to remove people’s personal belongings from the property.

He added the residents told him they have nowhere else to go.

“The residents/occupiers confirmed to me that these tents and structures were their homes and that the removal of their tents, structures and other belongings meant that they’ve been rendered homeless,” Sacks added.

Homeless

Social development activist Lorenzo Davids said it was clear what the City’s intentions toward the homeless are.

“They harassed the homeless without a particular court order or instruction to legalise the operation. The City removed assets and people’s property. The harassment and illegal removal of people’s assets becomes problematic for the City’s treatment towards homeless.”


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 need advice on the eviction process or if you are facing unlawful eviction.

Further reading: