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eviction order Archives | Eviction Lawyers South Africa

Joburg pensioners sleep on street after being thrown out of flats

By | COVID 19, Eviction news, Eviction notice, Eviction orders, Homeless

(Photo: Bheki Simelane)

Edith Sihube, 73, points to her neighbours, where her belongings were being kept safe while she and her ailing husband looked after the rest. The Sihubes were evicted after illegally occupying a property since 2017.

A number of pensioners spent several nights out on the street last week after the City of Johannesburg ordered their eviction from a block of flats they had been illegally occupying since 2016.

Several elderly pensioners had to sleep on the street last week after they were evicted from the Fleurhof flats in Soweto they had called home for almost four years.

On Tuesday 25 August the sheriff along with the infamous Red Ants arrived at the flats and evicted about 100 people including pensioners and children. This, according to residents, was the second time the Red Ants had descended on the area in recent weeks, with an earlier eviction taking place on 12 August.

Illegal residents of Fleurhof flats, including many pensioners, spent at least one night on the street to protect what was left of their belongings after members of the Red Ants security evicted them. (Photo: Bheki Simelane)

“The operations were carried out by the sheriff of the court after the developer obtained the eviction order,” said City of Johannesburg spokesperson Nthatisi Modingoane.

“The first operation on 12 August had to be called off after there was a fatality, which is being investigated by the Independent Police Directorate (IPID). The second operation had to be undertaken to enforce the court order and make room for the units to be handed over to government for allocation of rightful beneficiaries.”

Members of the Red Ants Security play soccer on the property’s football pitch a day after they evicted illegal occupants. (Photo: Bheki Simelane)

According to the developer’s website, Fleurhof is a 440ha privately owned property in the process of being developed in partnership with the City of Johannesburg and is set to be one of the largest integrated housing developments in Gauteng. On completion, it will provide housing for an estimated 83,000 people.

Following the 12 August evictions, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu condemned illegal land invasions and said they were perpetrated by people who occupied the flats to strongarm the department to provide them with RDP houses on a preferential basis.

Edith Sihube, 73, told Daily Maverick that she had never had a problem since her arrival in the area in 2017. Sihube was in her house with her ailing husband and family when the Red Ants struck.

“They said nothing except to throw our belongings out,” she said.

Sihube’s ill husband was thrown out of bed, and pleas from Sihube to spare him were ignored. “They don’t want to hear anything, it’s impossible to reason with them,” she said.

Sihube said it was appalling that the very government that they have been voting for over the years was throwing them out on the street.

“When they want you to vote for them they take you to the polling stations, even when you are sick, but this is what we get in return.”

Tshidi Madisakwana, a Meadowlands Community Forum leader, who is also listed as the first respondent in the court order authorising the evictions, said the evictees had nowhere else to go as most had called the place home for almost four years, and some had children enrolled in schools in the area.

“This is a government that doesn’t care,” said Madisakwana.

Residents said they illegally occupied the flats in 2016, and that authorities had not removed them then because they wanted their votes.

“Now they feel it’s the ideal moment, one they think won’t influence our voting patterns. This government has no shame,” said Madisakwana.

Several of the people Daily Maverick spoke to said they were in possession of government C-forms. These forms are an indication that the person had applied for government housing and is on a waiting list. But many don’t believe such a list actually exists.

Said Madisakwana: “Many of those people are from Meadowlands. They have been patiently waiting for houses, but told they are not next in line despite being in possession of C-forms and some having registered in 1996.

“Now that they have thrown the people out, where do they expect them to go, because they have nowhere else to go?” asked Madisakwana.

Many residents stayed up the whole night looking after what was left of their belongings, claiming that several items had been stolen during their eviction.

Shadrack Moabi, 76, who suffers from malignant hypertension, said he arrived in the area in 2017 and had never had a problem until he was thrown out.

“They said nothing. They just tossed out my belongings,” said Moabi.

Moabi’s bed and TV were missing after the eviction, he said.

“Authorities promised us houses; instead, the little that we have is being stolen from us. How would that make you feel?” asked Moabi.

Another eviction victim, 73-year-old Francina Tabola, who also arrived in the area in 2017, said she no longer cared about voting for anyone after supporting the ANC all her life.

“What do I have to show for that, except for a meagre grant? My wish was to die in my own house.”

Tabola said a number of her possessions were stolen during the eviction, including blankets, a phone, a TV and an electric kettle.

“Can this government please come and help us. Why are my things missing?” she asked. When Tabola, who suffers from high blood pressure, spoke to Daily Maverick she had not eaten in 24 hours.

Asked why the flats had remained empty for so long, the City’s Modingoane said the site was still under development and had not yet been handed over to the government for allocation.

Asked where the people evicted should go, Modingoane said, “A court order does not put conditions on the developer. Illegal occupation is a crime and should not be seen as means to be rewarded.”

Modingoane said the eviction did not flout lockdown regulations as “different levels of lockdown come with a different set of rules. The court… take these regulations into account. A competent court of law arrived at a decision to grant an eviction order which got enforced by the sheriff of the court.”

Reprinted from Daily Maverick

Some links added by SD Law

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:

Cape Town suspends metro cops involved in eviction of naked man

By | COVID 19, Eviction news, Evictions

Reprinted from the Mail & Guardian. By Lester Kiewit – 2020-07-01

metro cops suspended over shack evictions
Cape Town’s executive director for safety and security, Richard Bosman, said in a statement on Wednesday night that an investigation into the incident is under way, with disciplinary proceedings expected to be implemented.

 

The City of Cape Town has moved to suspend four law enforcement officers who were shown on video evicting a naked man from his shack during a demolition of informal dwellings in Khayelitsha on Wednesday.

The video, widely circulated on social media, shows several metro police officers surrounding a shack while two officers push the unidentified man out of his home.

The man is tackled to the ground, while another police officer is shown kneeling on his back. Onlookers attempting to assist are pepper-sprayed.

It’s believed the man was bathing at the time of the eviction.

Cape Town’s executive director for safety and security, Richard Bosman, said in a statement on Wednesday night that an investigation into the incident is under way, with disciplinary proceedings expected to be implemented.
“We are in the process of suspending four staff members involved in the incident, pending the outcome of the investigation. The suspension also ensures that staff are not targeted while on duty. We are saddened by the conduct depicted on the video footage, and we do not condone any forceful and dehumanising conduct by our staff members,” Bosman said.

The City said their primary purpose was to carry out anti-land invasion operations to protect land earmarked for housing development, but added that it does not condone violence by law-enforcement staff.

“The City takes these allegations very seriously,” Bosman said.

The land in question in the Empolweni settlement has been subject to a legal battle, with the City acquiring an eviction order to remove people, because the property has been earmarked for development.

The City government came under fire in April after it embarked on evictions in this area, even though lockdown regulations to curb the spread of the coronavirus explicitly ban the exercising of eviction orders.

After a ruling by the Western Cape high court, only 49 households have been given rights to temporarily remain on the land until after the lockdown.

“After the removal of illegally built structures, new attempts are made to invade again on a daily basis … The City must also maintain this recent court order, which the community is aware of,” the Democratic Alliance-led local government’s statement said.

Social justice group Ndifuna Ukwazi — which has been assisting people since the first evictions in April — said that it will be calling for Bosman, and mayoral committee member for safety JP Smith to be held accountable for the “abhorrent violation of the rights to dignity, privacy, and housing” of the man.

*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 want to know the cost of eviction.

Further reading:

Law centre calls for directive to halt evictions during lockdown

By | COVID 19, Eviction news, Evictions

In recent days we have reprinted a number of articles about illegal evictions happening during lockdown, when evictions are prohibited by law. After the recent incident in Khayelitsha, where a man was dragged from his shack, social justice organisations have called on Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to stop municipalities destroying homes.

Reprinted from the Sowetan Live, by Ernest Mabuza – 2020-07-02

A member of the Red Ants during the demolition of shacks in Dunoon, Cape Town, on April 25 2019. The Socio-Economic Rights Institute (Seri) has joined the call to prohibit evictions during the lockdown. File photo.

A member of the Red Ants during the demolition of shacks in Dunoon, Cape Town, on April 25 2019. The Socio-Economic Rights Institute (Seri) has joined the call to prohibit evictions during the lockdown. File photo. Image: Sunday Times/Esa Alexander

A public interest law centre has called on human settlements, water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu to issue a directive to stop the demolition of homes by all municipalities.

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute (Seri) made the call after Sisulu’s response on Thursday to the humiliating eviction of a resident at Empolweni in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, by the city’s anti-land invasion unit.

Sisulu condemned the “distasteful” eviction of a man seen on video footage being dragged naked out of his shack.

In the video, shared on Wednesday by social justice activists, members of the city’s anti-land invasion unit were seen removing the naked man from his shack and taking him outside. There is a scuffle when he tries to go inside as officers block his path and push him to the ground.

“While the minister’s efforts are welcomed, they fail to fully acknowledge the widespread nature of evictions and demolitions of poor and vulnerable households across the country during the Covid-19 lockdown,” Seri said in a statement.

It said the blatant disregard of people’s right to housing and dignity portrayed by the City of Cape Town was shared by various municipalities across the country.

Seri said it had been concerned by the prevalence of evictions that were instituted by the cities of eThekwini, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni respectively.

It said the municipalities consistently claimed that they were demolishing incomplete or unoccupied structures, despite evidence to the contrary.

“These attacks have been ordered and carried out despite a moratorium on evictions during Covid‑19 alert levels 5, 4 and 3. These are gross violations and warrant the minister’s urgent intervention.”

Seri said various social justice organisations had made submissions calling for the nationwide moratorium on evictions to include a directive under the Disaster Management Act.

The organisation said the directive should state that for the duration of the national state of disaster, no one may demolish any structure that has been or is being constructed for the purposes of residential occupation on any land or in any building without an order of the court.

“There was recklessness among the officials about whether the victim would be humiliated and his dignity violated. This action does not belong to the democratic South Africa,” it said.

The commission said it understood the land in question belonged to the City of Cape Town.

It said it has called for communities – despite their desperation to secure housing – to refrain from unlawful land invasions.

“Similarly, the commission reiterates that evictions, demolitions and the removal of people from land needs to be conducted within the limits of human rights as set out in … the constitution, the law and human decency.”

Links added by SD Law.

*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 want to know the cost of eviction.

Further reading: