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Illegal eviction Archives | Eviction Lawyers South Africa

Emalahleni Local Municipality receives two days to reply to SAHRC

By | Eviction news, Evictions

Over 100 houses were demolished, with about 96 residents who currently live in an open area, declared homeless after the eviction operations.

Emalahleni Municipality involved in illegal evictions

The provincial office of the Human Rights Commission, in Mpumalanga, gave Emalahleni Local Municipality two days to respond to an urgent email regarding the “complaints relating to eviction operations without a court order.”

In a letter seen by the WITBANK NEWS, the commission indicated that the assessed complaint, the affected resident’s right to have access to housing, particularly their right not be evicted without a court order enshrined in section 26(3) of the constitution were “prima facie violation.”

“Given the urgency of the matter and the level 3 lockdown COVID-19 regulations on evictions, please let us have your response to the above allegations at your nearest convenience and in any event by no later than 24 June 2020,” the letter reads.

Over 100 houses were demolished, with about 96 residents who currently live in an open area declared homeless after the eviction operations.

Branch leader of the settlement from the South African National Civic Organization (SANCO), Mr Sbusiso Ndlovu said he was pleased by the response of the commission.

“As SANCO leadership from Ward 23, we are pleased by the information from the SARHC to investigate the matter in Empumelelweni. It is high time that people take accountability for their actions, human dignity as enshrined in the constitution has been compromised, people have been greatly exposed to COVID-19 by this whole situation and lastly, we will be happy if the municipality can engage SANCO about the land to be allocated and other matters alike to avoid similar occurrences,” said Ndlovu.

Reprinted from Witbank News – 2020-06-30

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.

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LISTEN | Judge orders Fort Hare to stop evacuation, resume classes

By | Eviction news, Eviction notice, Eviction orders

University of Fort Hare vice-chancellor Sakhela Buhlungu’s decision to shut down the institution and send students home has been stopped by the Bhisho high court. And the court has ordered the administration to “meaningfully engage” with students resolve the current dispute.

In an urgent order handed down in East London Saturday morning, Judge Belinda Hartle found the decision of Buhlungu’s administration to close the university to be “an unacceptable over-reach of its lawful authority”.

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University of Fort Hare Alice Campus.
Image: Rod Bally

She said she was satisfied the university’s Students’ Representative Council (SRC) had made out a case for an order interdicting the university administration from forcing students to vacate university premises, including residences.

SRC members have argued the administration’s notice on March 5 for students to leave the various campuses, was an illegal eviction order.

Buhlungu ordered the university shut down in a notice entitled “suspension of academic programme and instruction to all students to return home”.

The instruction followed weeks of upheaval at Fort Hare as students have protested the university’s funding policy which effectively excluded some students. UFH also faced turmoil over student deaths unrelated to the funding protests.

In separate urgent applications filed on Friday, the university SRC and administration argued the legality of Buhlungu’s notice.

The university has previously obtained a court order against students allegedly involved in acts of violence, damage to property and disruption to orderly administration activities.

The administration argued on Friday that despite that order being granted in January, Fort Hare has been plagued by violent protest action, necessitating the evacuation notice issued on March 5.

Buhlungu told the court some students started leaving the campus immediately, but others refused to vacate residences.

The VC specifically asked for the SA Police Services to be ordered to give effect to the notice for students to vacate the campuses.

But the SRC argued that the evacuation notice was illegal and would severely and irreparably prejudice them.

As most students were from disadvantaged and indigent backgrounds, and the majority have their homes outside the Eastern Cape, the SRC told the court it was impossible for students to vacate the campuses in haste.

“The majority of them do not have means at all to travel back to their homes and they have nobody to support them with funds to do so,” the students’ counsel, Advocate Thenjwa Sellem said.

He said the administration’s actions were unfair, unreasonable and unlawful.

Source: DispatchLive (emphasis by SD Law*)

* SD Law, aka Simon Dippenaar & Associates Inc., is a law firm of Cape Town Eviction Lawyers, and Eviction Attorneys in Johannesburg as well as Eviction Lawyers in Durban, offering landlords and tenants legal help with the eviction process, eviction notices, eviction orders, and the rental collection process. Contact Simon by phone at 086 099 5146, or email sdippenaar@sdlaw.co.za, for a free assessment within an hour.

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‘Land occupation’ eviction processes to come under spotlight in Vrygrond case

By | Eviction news, Uncategorized

A court challenge in an ongoing demolish-and-rebuild stand-off between the City of Cape Town and residents in Vrygrond, near Muizenberg, may bring some clarity about eviction processes relating to the illegal occupation of land.

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The application, brought by some Vrygrond residents who previously protested over their plight, was supposed to heard in the Western Cape High Court on Friday, but was postponed for oral evidence.

“We don’t have the court date yet, but we expect it to be in this week still,” Mike Kumalo, chairperson of the Vrygrond Community Forum, said on Monday.

The applicants want clarity on whether the residents occupied the structures before June 18 when they were demolished; whether the City unlawfully evicted people when it demolished shacks on this date and whether it took away people’s belongings while doing so.

The applicants are the Vrygrond Community Forum, Nozingisa Mposi, Kunjulwa Menze, Ntombizanele Lindani, Mcebiseni Mpola, Siphamandla Blayi, Mncekeleli Qaweshe and Nothemba Mongo. The respondents are the City, the municipal manager and Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato. 

“Since some time last year, the City has been demolishing some homes [and] leaving some,” Kumalo told News24 on Friday. “We have been asking: ‘Why is the City inconsistent and what authority do they use to demolish people’s dwellings?'”

Shacks have been built on land between a landfill site and Vrygrond, named Xakabantu. 

Land earmarked for construction, then later nature reserve

Kumalo explained that this particular piece of land was originally earmarked for a housing development and residents were asked to leave to facilitate construction.

However, they had not seen any construction.

They moved back onto the land but then discovered it had been reclassified as part of a nature reserve, further complicating the issue.

Khumalo claimed there was no public participation that included the residents themselves. In addition, the issue of creating a buffer zone between Xakabantu and the landfill site and the nature reserve had also arisen.

In May 2018, the City obtained an interim interdict preventing the further building of houses and the demolition of any new houses.

Kumalo said it was nailed to a tree and that some people living there were later “given a number” by the City allowing them to stay, but not all were given a number.

This process in itself is causing friction between people who received a number and those who did not. There were also allegations of “number buying”.

Kumalo said the matter must be resolved once and for all because, as recently as June 18, more homes were demolished.

Electioneering

He added that residents felt that officials seemed to accept Xakabantu as a suburb when they went there for electioneering, but not at other times.

“During elections, law enforcement officials took pictures. People came to campaign. They said ‘Let people live there, let people stay;’ and then one day they decide: ‘Let’s go and break everything down.'” 

Residents want to know whether the City is following due process in the demolition of shacks.

On Friday, Judge Ashley Binns-Ward decided that the case should include oral evidence from witnesses. The case was postponed for an urgent date for the hearing from Judge President John Hlophe.

The Xakabantu issue comes weeks after the legality of a massive house-bulldozing operation in Johannesburg’s Alexandra was questioned. 

Source: News24

Get help from an eviction lawyer

For more information or help with an eviction matter, Contact Cape Town Eviction Attorney Simon on 086 099 5146 or email sdippenaar@sdlaw.co.za.

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