CAPE TOWN – Evictions and demolition of places of residence are still not permitted under alert level, according to the Disaster Management Act. However, an order authorising the eviction or demolition can be granted by the court.
“A competent court may suspend or stay order for eviction or demolition until after the lapse or termination of the national state of disaster unless the court is of the opinion that it is not just or equitable to suspend or stay the order having regard,” the regulations state.
Meanwhile, recent media reports say that housing campaigners are worried that the loosening of lockdown restrictions will see a sharp spike in evictions as people who have lost jobs battle to pay rent.
In Gauteng, through the provincial human settlements department, the tribunal said it has received 268 cases since April. In the Western Cape 460 cases of lockdown rental disputes are being mediated; in KwaZulu-Natal, 1 149 cases are before the tribunal.
In terms of these new regulations before any party can apply for such an order. They have to ensure that they have taken reasonable steps in good faith, to make alternative arrangements with all affected persons, including but not limited to payment arrangements that would preclude the need for any relocation during the national state of disaster.
A court hearing an application to authorise an eviction or demolition may, where appropriate and in addition to any other report that is required by law, request a report from the responsible member of the executive regarding the availability of emergency accommodation or quarantine or isolation facilities pursuant to these Regulations.
“During the national state of disaster, the Rental Housing Tribunals established under the Rental Housing Act, 1999 must determine fair procedures for the urgent hearing of disputes; or may grant an urgent ex parte spoliation order including to restore the occupation of a dwelling or access to services provided that an affected party may, on 24 hours’ notice, require that a hearing be promptly convened,” says the Government Gazette.
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