Illegal eviction 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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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.

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Family of 10 sleep in community hall after ‘unlawful lockdown eviction’

By | Eviction news, Homeless

Reprinted from TimesLive, by Shonisani Tshikalange – 2021-07-14

unlawful lockdown eviction

Elias Mtolo lived in a car with his wife before the family sought shelter in a community hall. Image: Supplied

A family of 10 faces imminent eviction as they squat at a hall in Vanderbijlpark, south of Johannesburg, after being evicted during level 4 of the lockdown.

Elias Mtolo and his wife Maheneng spent three days sleeping in an old car while their eight children were squashed into a small shack, after the house they shared on a plot was demolished by his employer, who is now nowhere to be found.

A court ruled at the weekend that they should not have been evicted.

Mtolo and his family sought shelter at the community hall on Friday.

“I was sleeping in a car with my wife while my children were sleeping in the small shack that I put up with the small material that was left from what was demolished,” he said.

The 45-year-old said he started working for his employer in March 2000.

“I was taking care of his cows and sheep on his farm. In 2010 he told me that he is no longer going to use the farm, then he moved me with my family to Vanderbijlpark on his property.”

Mtolo said on June 16, his employer arrived with policemen to tell him that all tenants, except him, must be off the property because it had been sold.

“But they told me that I was excluded and that I will move to his new property temporarily until he finds me my own permanent house,” he said.

He said on June 24 police returned, telling him to move off the property.

“I was surprised by the policemen, who came back to threaten me. On July 6, early in the morning, he came with [vehicles to demolish the house and] he told me that I must move out my furniture and he will break the house down. I moved my furniture out, then he ran away and never came back.”

Elias Mtolo said he hasn’t received any communication from his former employer since they were evicted.

Elias Mtolo said he hasn’t received any communication from his former employer since they were evicted.
Image: Supplied

Mtolo’s youngest child is not yet two, his oldest is 23.

“My children are not fine, I am also not fine. We are heartbroken. My wife is also heartbroken. Our spirits are down.

“The two who are doing matric couldn’t read properly after what happened. They could not focus,” he said.

An attorney at Marweshe Attorneys Inc, Tony Mathe, working with his colleague Mabu Marweshe, made an urgent application in the Johannesburg high court on Friday evening, with the matter heard on Saturday.

The application — which sought to, among other things, have the eviction and demolition of the property declared illegal and unconstitutional and have the employer provide temporary shelter or accommodation to the family immediately — was granted by the court.

Mtolo, however, said he had not yet heard from his former employer.

Mathe said the conduct violated level 4 regulations, which were clear that no evictions may take place during this period.

“This also is a direct violation of human rights and the constitution of SA, which is clear that everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected. Further violation is [of] the Children’s Act, which was formulated to protect the rights of the children,” he said.

“The man has not contacted us, which means he is not willing to comply with the court order. We are getting ready to go back to court urgently, as our clients are still in a community hall facing imminent eviction,” he said.

Attempts to contact Mtolo’s former employer were unsuccessful.

For further information

This eviction is a clear breach of regulations under the Disaster Management Act. SD Law is a law firm in Cape Town and Johannesburg with specialist eviction lawyers. If you need advice on lease agreements, evictions, or other aspects of landlord-tenant relations, contact Cape Town attorney Simon Dippenaar on 086 099 5146 or email sdippenaar@sdlaw.co.za.

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