The Johannesburg High Court today set aside an eviction order granted against 84 men, women and children living at 8 O’Reilly Street, Hillbrow in Johannesburg’s inner city. The Court held that the eviction order should not have been made without the City of Johannesburg (“the City”) being part of the proceedings. The City is obliged to ensure that the eviction of the community would not result in homelessness.
The High Court was considering the residents’ appeal against an order evicting them from their homes made by Justice Victor in 2014. The residents attended court in person to oppose the eviction, and said in their affidavits that the City should be joined to the proceedings to help resolve the eviction case. Justice Victor held that the residents had failed to specify what role the City should play in the case. Justice Victor refused to join the City, and evicted the residents.
On appeal, Justice Francis, with whom Justice Nicholls and Justice Makhanya agreed, held that Justice Victor erred in failing to join the City to the proceedings, because there were indications on the papers submitted by the property owner that the eviction might trigger the City’s obligations to provide temporary shelter to the residents. That being so, Justice Victor should have joined the City and ordered it to submit a report setting out the steps it would take to stop the residents from becoming homeless on eviction. Justice Francis upheld the residents’ appeal, set aside the eviction order, joined the City to the proceedings and directed it to file a report on the occupiers and their circumstances within 30 days.
SERI's Dennis Webster will today participate on a round table at the Experimenting / Experiencing the City dialogue taking place this week at Wits University. The round table will focus on street trading, and consider what the “just” governance of street trading might look like in Johannesburg.
SERI today argued the opposition of the eviction of four artisinal miners in Kimberly. The miners were successful, and the municipality has been ordered to file a report on the available alternatives.
The residents of 8 O’Reilly Street, Hillbrow's appeal in Ingelosi House will be heard before a full bench of the Gauteng High Court today.
SERI acts for the residents in their appeal against an eviction order granted in the Gauteng Local Division of the High Court on 28 May 2014. An eviction order was granted against the long-standing residents in favour of the new owner, Ingelosi House (Pty) Ltd, despite the City of Johannesburg not having been joined to proceedings and regardless of the fact that the residents are poor and will be rendered homeless by an eviction. The eviction order was granted in opposed court with about eight of the residents present, but unrepresented.
The Judge questioned five of the residents, who all confirmed that they required time to raise money for a lawyer and to put together a defence. They explained that the affidavit, filed purportedly on their behalf, was filed without their knowledge. The Judge did not consider the personal circumstances of the residents or whether an eviction order would be just and equitable in the circumstances.