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Lawyers for Human Rights Archives | Eviction Lawyers South Africa

Groundbreaking eviction order stops unlawful eviction with damages

By | Eviction news, Homeless

Pretoria – In another massive victory for the landless, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria not only ruled that the ousted residents of Monflorah Park could stay in peace on the land they call home in Tembisa, but it was ordered that each resident should receive emergency damages of R1 500.

Community members of Monflorah Park waiting for the green light to live in peace. Picture: Zelda Venter

Acting Judge Anthony Millar further ordered that the City of Ekurhuleni had to launch an investigation into claims by the residents that its metro police (EMPD) allegedly solicited bribes from the residents in order to leave them in peace.

The judge ordered the municipality to, within 30 days, file a report with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, the National Prosecuting Authority and with the court regarding the bribery claims.

The mostly woman-headed households earlier turned to the court with the help of Lawyers for Human Rights after they had been “evicted” from the land by the EMPD once again. 

To make matters worse, this time, the EMPD destroyed and burnt all their belongings. This was captured on video by one of the bystanders and handed to court. In the clip, women can be heard begging the officers to not destroy the little they had. They begged to be given time to at least salvage their belongings.

Florah Tjabadi, leader of Monflorah Park in Tembisa. Picture: Zelda Venter

The result of this was that the women, babies and small children had to sleep on the barren ground and ashes after everything was destroyed.

The EMPD denied that the images depicted on the footage depicted this scene and it accused LHR of submitting footage of another scene.

Judge Millar on Monday went on an inspection in loco to the scene, together with the various legal teams, to see for himself how it looked. They compared the pictures to the property and it was confirmed that the footage was indeed of this scene.

Another excuse forwarded by the EMPD for their conduct was that the structures were mostly incomplete and that it thus could not be called home by the residents. Thus, the EMPD said, they did not evict anyone as they did not live there.

But the video footage showed that the structures were not vacant when the EMPD demolished it and that the residents in fact did live there.

Judge Millar declared the evictions unlawful and unconstitutional. He interdicted the municipality and the EMPD from evicting these people until they had obtained a legal eviction order. They were also interdicted from damaging the property of these residents in future.

About 50 mostly armed members of the EMPD earlier this year broke down the shacks and burnt the belongings of the households of Monflorah Park.

This after the residents claimed that they were paying the police bribes as demanded by them,  to be left alone.

Leader of the group, Florah Tjabadi told the court that Tjabadi  shortly after settling there, they were confronted by the EMPD, who agreed to leave them in peace if the community paid them bribes. 

“Out of fear and desperation we succumbed to the demands and I managed to collect R2 000 between the families. I was horrified by having to do this,” she said.

But according to her in spite of this, their homes and belongings were still destroyed.

Source: IOL (emphasis by SDLAW*)

*Cape Town Eviction Attorneys, Simon Dippenaar & Associates, Inc., is a law firm in Cape Town, of specialised eviction attorneys, assisting both landlords and tenants with the the eviction process. Contact us for eviction help on +27 (0) 86 099 5146 or email sdippenaar@sdlaw.co.za.

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Township hub traders facing eviction

By | Commercial eviction, Eviction news
If you’ve been served with an eviction notice, don’t panic. You have rights and are protected by PIE. We explain the process and we're here to help.

More than 20 businesses trading from a piece of land in the heart of Olievenhoutbosch’s busiest economic hub face being evicted, allegedly to make way for a national food retailer.

The piece of land, located in the centre of Marabastad’s area of the township, is owned by Tshwane Municipality but a company that claims to have a valid lease on the land has issued notice to the traders to vacate the area as, according to the traders, it plans to set up a major retailer there.

The company, Mweusi Mali Maendeleo, which has Chulumanca Nomlomo as its sole director, wrote to the businesses, requesting them to vacate the property.

The letter also acknowledges that the company does not own the land but merely has a lease with the City of Tshwane.

It also gives the occupants 30 days to voluntarily vacate the premises and, according to a number of businesses City Press spoke to, a barbed wired fence was erected to barricade the area. However, it is alleged that criminals within the community removed the fence within a few weeks. “After the fence was taken, we just returned to our businesses,” said one businessperson who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of being victimised.

OLD TRADERS

Most of the businesses that City Press spoke to have been trading in the area for more than a decade and though they have been harassed for bribes by metro police, they have never been told to vacate the land by the municipality, despite not paying rent.

However, according to the municipality, the company that has leased the land is called Green Valleys Project and has different directors to Mweusi.

Questions sent to Mweusi’s lawyers, as well as Nomlomo, were not replied to by the time of going to print.

Attempts to contact the directors of Green Valleys Project were also unsuccessful.

Tshwane municipality spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said the businesses were occupying the land illegally.

“The businesses currently occupying the property are using council property without approval and/or a valid lease agreement and they are therefore illegal occupants. The city is not making any alternative arrangement for these occupants since the use of that property is illegal in the initial instance.

“That is the basis upon which the city is taking steps to evict them. Lawyers for Human Rights has been approached to intervene on their behalf and the city is attending to that aspect through its legal department.

“The property in question has been leased out to Green Valleys Project through an open tender. The said company needs to take occupation of the property and commence with the development as per the award,” Mashigo said.

However, according to Louise du Plessis from Lawyers for Human Rights, the organisation is not handling the matter.

Source: City Press (emphasis by SDLAW*)

*Cape Town Attorneys. Simon Dippenaar & Associates is a Cape Town law firm of specialised eviction attorneys in Cape Town, and now in Durban and Johannesburg, offering expert legal advice and representation to both landlords, and tenants regarding residential, commercial and farm evictions related matters in South Africa. Contact a Cape Town Lawyer on +27 (0) 86 099 5146 or email sdippenaar@sdlaw.co.za.

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