Effective relief regarding residential property following a failure to execute an eviction order

Kotze, Tina (2016-12)

Thesis (LLM)--Stellenbosch University, 2016


ENGLISH ABSTRACT : The eviction process relating to immovable property utilised for residential purposes can broadly be subdivided into three phases: the procedural; adjudicatory and execution phases, respectively. The procedural stage is characterised by the necessary procedural steps that need to be taken by an owner (or person in charge) or organ of State, in accordance with the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998 (“PIE”) in order to launch an application for eviction of unlawful occupier(s) from private or public land. The adjudicatory phase entails a substantive determination by the courts whether it is appropriate, just and equitable, after considering all the relevant circumstances of the case as required by PIE, to grant an eviction order. The execution phase is only applicable when an eviction order was granted by the court. In line with PIE, just and equitable dates, depending on the facts and circumstances of the matter, are also set for (a) eviction; and (b) the execution of the eviction order. Where the land or property is vacated voluntarily on the date set, the eviction process is complete. However, when the land or property is not vacated as required, the eviction order is executed on the further date, as set out in the eviction order. This execution phase is invariably effected with the assistance of the South African Police Force or other State agents or officials and involves the removal of unlawful occupiers from the land or property in question. However, failure by the State to execute eviction orders has become more prominent and therefore, increasingly, contentious. As a result, the land owner is left without a remedy to protect his or her right to property, whereas the unlawful occupier’s position, with regard to access to land and adequate housing, remains in limbo - leaving both parties without an effective remedy. In light of the above, the objective of this study is twofold. Firstly, the research sets out to establish what constitutes effective relief regarding residential property, following a failure to execute an eviction order granted in terms of PIE. In this regard, effective relief, in the context of evictions pertaining to residential property, constitutes appropriate relief for all affected parties that can be executed within a reasonable time. Secondly, the aim is to analyse whether or to what extent a structural interdict; constitutional damages and/or a contempt of court order could be regarded as effective relief, both from the perspective of the land owner and the unlawful occupier(s), given the conflicting rights and interests of the respective parties. The thesis also considers the role and involvement of the State as a facilitator and/or as an owner in the process of eviction in order to determine what would be regarded as effective relief from that perspective. The impact of the respective remedies on the abovementioned parties is analysed in order to determine whether the relief granted can be regarded as “effective relief” relating to residential property, following a failure to execute an eviction order. In this regard various recommendations are suggested, relating to the choice of oversight model and the formulation of the structural interdict. In relation to alternative relief, it is suggested that PIE either be amended or that a framework for direct constitutional damages be developed by the courts. Presently, and in conclusion, it is clear that a combination of remedies may need to be employed in order to provide effective relief where eviction orders are not executed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Uitsetting vanaf onroerende eiendom wat vir residensiële doeleindes aangewend word, behels drie fases: die prosedurele, beregtings- en uitvoeringsfases onderskeidelik. Die prosedurele fase word gekenmerk deur die nodige prosedurele stappe wat deur ‘n privaat- of Staatsgrondeienaar geneem moet word, ooreenkomstig die Wet op die Voorkoming van Onwettige Uitsetting en Onregmatige Okkupasie van Grond 19 van 1998 (“Uitsettingswet”), ten einde ‘n uitsettingsaansoek vir die uitsetting van onregmatige okkupeerders vanaf openbare of privaatgrond te loods. Die beregtingsfase behels ‘n substantiewe ondersoek deur die howe ten einde te bepaal of ‘n uitsettingbevel toepaslik, regverdig en billik, na oorweging van alle relevante omstandighede - soos vereis deur die Uitsettingswet, sal wees. Die uitvoeringsfase is slegs van toepassing indien ‘n uitsettingsbevel inderdaad toegestaan is. Soos vereis in die Uitsettingswet word regverdige en billike datums gestel vir (a) uitsetting; en (b) die uitvoering van die uitsettingsbevel. Waar die grond of eiendom op vrywillige basis deur die onregmatige okkupeerders ontruim word, is die uitsettingsproses voltooid. Waar die grond of eiendom egter nie op die datum soos vasgestel deur die hof ontruim word nie, word die uitsettingsbevel op die latere datum, soos uiteengesit in die uitsettingsbevel, uitgevoer. Die uitvoeringsfase word gewoonlik met behulp van die Suid-Afrikaanse Polisiemag of ander Staatsagente of -beamptes hanteer en behels die verwydering van die onregmatige okkupeerders vanaf die relevante grond of eiendom. Versuim deur die Staat om uitsettingsbevele uit te voer het gaandeweg meer prominent geword en dus toenemend omstrede. In hierdie omstandighede is ‘n grondeienaar weerloos gelaat om sy of haar regte in eiendom te beskerm, terwyl onregmatige okkupeerders se toegang tot grond en behuising ook nie beredder is nie. Dienooreenkomstig is beide die grondeienaar en onregmatige okkupeerders sonder effektiewe remedies gelaat. Die oogmerk van die studie is gevolglik tweeledig. Eerstens, beoog die studie om vas te stel wat onder “effektiewe regshulp” verstaan word in gevalle waar die Staat versuim om ‘n uitsettingsbevel by residensiële eiendom uit te voer. In hierdie konteks kan effektiewe regshulp (of effektiewe remedie) beskou word as gepaste regshulp vir alle betrokke partye wat binne ‘n redelike tydperk uitgevoer kan word. Die tweede oogmerk is om ondersoek in te stel na die vraag of en in welke mate ‘n strukturele interdik, grondwetlike skadevergoeding en/of ‘n bevel vir minagting van die hof as effektiewe regshulp beskou kan word. Hierdie ondersoek word gedoen vanuit die onderskeie perspektiewe van beide die grondeienaar en onregmatige okkupeerder(s), gegewe hul botsende regte en belange. Die tesis oorweeg ook die rol en betrokkenheid van die Staat as fasiliteerder en/of as grondeienaar gedurende die uitsettingsproses ten einde vas te stel wat moontlik as ‘n effektiewe remedie vanuit daardie perspektief geag kan word. Die impak van die onderskeie remedies op die bogenoemde partye word gevolglik ontleed ten einde die oorhoofse navorsingsvraag te beantwoord, naamlik of sodanige regshulp “effektiewe regshulp” daarstel waar daar ‘n versuim was om ‘n uitsettingsbevel ten opsigte van residensiële eiendom uit te voer. In hierdie verband word verskeie aanbevelings, wat verband hou met die keuse van model vir toesighouding en die fomulering van die strukturele interdik, voorgestel. Ten aansien van alternatiewe regshulp, word voorgestel dat PIE gewysig word of dat ‘n raamwerk vir direkte grondwetlike skadevergoeding ontwikkel word. Dit is tans duidelik dat ‘n kombinasie van remedies nodig mag wees ten einde effektiewe regshulp te verleen waar daar ‘n versuim was om ‘n uitsettingsbevel uit te voer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100253
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