spoliation order - occupation of shelter - eviction - right to reoccupy after period of absence - Johannesburg High Court

SERI represents Hloniphokwake Goge, a former resident of Saratoga Avenue, who was moved to the Ekuthuleni shelter in May 2012 by the City of Johannesburg (the City) as part of the Blue Moonlight Constitutional Court judgment, in a spoliation matter before the South Gauteng High Court. The Ekuthuleni Shelter is run by Metro Evangelical Services (MES), an NGO operating in inner city Johannesburg.

On 18 June 2016 Mr Goge got into an argument with another resident of the shelter. This altercation between the residents resulted in Mr Goge sustaining injuries from boiling water, as such Mr Goge left the shelter to tend to his injuries. He returned to the shelter three months later and re-occupied his room. He was then unlawfully evicted a day after his return.

This application raises fundamental issues on the application of the Preventtion of Illegal Evictions and Unlawful Ocupation of Land Act 19 of 1998 (the PIE Act) on homeless shelters and the rules of spoliation.

The case was heard in October 2016. Dewrance AJ handed down a judgment on 25 October 2016. The court found that the City’s decision to not to allow Mr Goge to occupy the shelter upon his return was in breach of his constitutional rights not to be evicted without a court order.

The City immediately filed an application for leave to appeal the whole judgment handed down by Dewrance AJ. They were granted leave to appeal by the Supreme Court of Appeal in May 2017.

On 27 June 2018 the matter was argued before Coppin J, Francis J and Mashile J, with the residents represented by Stuart Wilson and Irene de Vos. The court handed down a judgment confirming that Mr Goge’s rights had been breached and  dismissed the appeal with costs on 5 September 2018.The court further found that the PIE Act applies to homeless shelters.

High Court Full Bench

  • High Court judgment (5 September 2018) here.
  • SERI's heads of argument (2 May 2018) here.
  • City of Johannesburg's notice of appeal (30 May 2017) here

Supreme Court of Appeal

  • SCA order (2 May 2017) here.
  • City of Johannesburg's SCA notice to appeal and affidavit (18 January 2017) here.

High Court

  • High Court order (18 January 2017) here
  • City of Johannesburg's ammended application for leave to appeal (18 November 2016) here.
  • City of Johannesburg's application for leave to appeal (25 October 2016) here.
  • High Court judgement (25 October 2016) here.
  • Goge's replying affidavit (3 October 2016) here.
  • City of Johannesburg's answering affidavit (2 October 2016) here
  • Founding Affidavit (28 September 2016) here.
  • Notice of motion (26 September 2016) here.