[SUBMISSION] SERI makes a submission on the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Amendment Bill (10 October 2022).
Last week, SERI made a submission to Parliament on the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Amendment Bill.
On 2 September 2022, a notice inviting all stakeholders and interested persons to submit written comments on the proposed Bill was published in the Government Gazette. This is a private members Bill that Ms E Powell, MP, from the Democratic Alliance (DA) intends to introduce in the National Assembly of Parliament.
Drawing on its preamble, the stated purpose of the draft Bill is to amend and restrict the application of the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998 (“the PIE Act”). It seeks to add and amend definitions of the Act; impose punitive measures for the incitement or promotion of unlawful occupation; provide criteria to be satisfied in court prior to an order for the municipal provision of alternative accommodation; allow for courts to determine the duration of alternative accommodation; and determine reasons for unlawful occupation in court as well as family obligations to support occupiers.
(SERI) has read and considered the draft Bill and makes this submission in accordance with the invitation to submit written comments.
SERI submits that the Bill is flawed on a number of grounds:
- It is void of both historical context and the current reality informing why the poor and historically dispossessed occupy land.
- It introduces amendments that are either redundant in law or potentially interfere with the discretion of judicial officers.
- It seeks to override decades of carefully considered and progressive jurisprudence on the PIE Act by, amongst others, the Constitutional Court through a regressive amendment Bill.
- It seeks to ‘walk back’ the responsibility of the municipality in its duty to provide alternative accommodation in cases where homelessness would ensue.
- It seeks to introduce measures in the application of the PIE Act that are vague in practical implementation.
SERI, therefore, submits that the draft Bill should be abandoned in its entirety.
Download SERI’s submission here.