SERI endorses a recommendation by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) to the National Command Council that Regulation 19 be amended to reflect a full moratorium on the institution and hearing of eviction proceedings, as well as the execution of eviction orders and all home demolitions, for the entire duration of Alert Level 4. The recommendations submit that;

  1. Any execution of an eviction order during Alert Level 4 of the national lockdown could never be deemed ‘just and equitable’ by a court; the continued restrictions on inter alia movement and transport are underscored by the need to “Stay at Home”, and thus necessarily render any eviction unjust in the current context. For this reason, the reference to this possibility in the Regulation is irrational and thus unlawful;

  2. Even the institution of eviction proceedings during Alert Level 4 of the national lockdown would operate unjustly against the defendant; the continued restrictions on inter alia movement and travel operate to prevent defendants from accessing legal services to aid their defence during Alert Level 4. Any institution and hearing of an eviction application would thus violate the defendant’s right of access to the courts. For this reason, the Regulation’s implied reference to this possibility is irrational and thus unlawful

SERI accordingly supports the proposal that Regulation 19 be replaced in its entirety by the following: “No person may have their home demolished or be evicted from their place of residence, including in terms of the Extension of Security of Tenure Act 62 of 1997 or the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998, and regardless of whether it is a formal or informal residence or a farm dwelling, for the duration of the Alert Level 4 period.”