recission application - Gauteng Local Division of the High Court

SERI represents the 468 residents of 20 Janie Rd, Jeppestown.

In March 2015, Judge Bruinders granted an order for the eviction of the residents. The order was granted in their absence and without due regard to the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act's (PIE) requirements under section 4(7), including whether or not the eviction would lead to homelessness.

The residents were not present in court on the day because they had not been properly served with the notice advising them of the date of the hearing. Even if the occupiers had been at court on the day the order was granted, they would not have found the correct court as the matter had not been properly set down on the day.

There were a number of indications from the papers before the court that the occupiers would be rendered homeless by eviction. As a result, any order that did not make provision for alternative accommodation would not be just and equitable.

The residents applied for a rescission of the eviction order in terms of rule 42 of the Uniform Rules on the following bases:

  1. The occupiers were not in wilful default of appearance. The matter had not been enrolled on the day, they had not been served with the required notice, and even if they had the date on the notice was incorrect.
  2. The applicants have verbal leases with the owners which have not been validly cancelled. They are thus not unlawful occupiers.
  3. The eviction of the residents would lead to homelessness. The possibility of homelessness is a valid defence to eviction under the PIE Act.

Acting Judge Naude agreed with SERI that the residents had not been given acceptable notice of the eviction hearing. He rescinded and set aside the eviction order on 14 June 2016.

SERI is now opposing the eviction application on behalf of the residents, and calling on the City of Johannesburg to provide alternative accommodation to the extent necessary.

  • SERI press statement (15 June 2016) here.
  • High Court order (15 June 2016) here.
  • Respondents practice note and heads of argument (4 April 2016) here.
  • Residents heads of argument (2 March 2016) here.
  • Residents practice note here.
  • Residents' replying affidavit (30 September 2015) here.
  • Respondent's answering affidavit (24 August 2015) here.
  • Residents notice of motion and founding affidavit (2 July 2015) here.