Call for moratorium on court magistrates granting eviction orders

Call for moratorium on court magistrates granting eviction orders

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Cape Town – The Ukubavimba Foundation has called on Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, to place a moratorium on court magistrates granting eviction orders.

This as a family of six from Atlantis is facing possible eviction after a family member got an eviction order to throw them out of the house they have been occupying for 35 years.

Speaking on behalf of the family, activist Verona October said the family had been living in the house since birth, but now their aunt wanted to evict them.

“The sheriff was recently at the family home, and we want to know what this eviction is based on. Earlier this year the aunt got people to rent the house, and now she wants to evict the family. They haven't received a letter of eviction, but we are aware of her intention to get them evicted. The family has been living in their late grandfather's house since birth, and they know no other home but this one,” she said.

Foundation activist Deon Carelse said it was a constitutional matter, adding that evictions increased homelessness.

“Minister Lamola is in charge of the courts, and with the judges that under his authority he can bar them from signing these eviction orders. Our Constitution tells us that there should be adequate housing for all, and that is a basic human right. For a court judge to grant an eviction order is unconstitutional.

“Currently we are under alert level 3, and with the national lockdown it is unconstitutional to evict a person. These evictions, whether private or farm evictions, are unlawful and unjust. An eviction order to be granted by a court does not do justice to the evicted families; it is inhumane, especially at this time of the year,” said Carelse.

Non-profit organisation Ndifuna Ukwazi said evictions under alert level 3 remained prohibited unless a court ordered otherwise.

“Courts can hear eviction matters depending on their specific direction, and can grant eviction orders, but evictions cannot be carried out during the national State of Disaster unless the court orders otherwise.

“This means the sheriff cannot physically remove you from your home until the State of Disaster ends, unless the court specifically orders that it is just and equitable for the eviction to be carried out before then,” the organisation said.

It said courts must always consider all factors, including the reason for an eviction, evictees’ personal circumstances, especially the elderly, children and people with specific needs, and whether alternative accommodation was available.

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