The role of the municipality in eviction proceedings – Ives v Rajah 2012 (2) SA 167 (WCC)

Section 26(3) of the South African Constitution (Act 108 of 1996) provides that “no one may be evicted from their home without an order of court made after consideration of all the relevant circumstances”.

To give effect to this provision in the Bill of Rights, Parliament enacted the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land, Act 19 of 1998 (‘the PIE Act’), which, according to its preamble, seeks to do the following:

· ensure that no one may be deprived of property, except in terms of law of general application, and no law may permit arbitrary deprivation of property

· ensure that no one may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished without an order of court made after considering all the relevant circumstances

· ensure that the eviction of unlawful occupiers is regulated in a fair manner, while recognising the right of land owners to apply to a court for an eviction order in appropriate circumstances

· ensure that in eviction applications, special consideration should be given to the rights of the elderly, children, disabled persons and particularly households headed by women.
This article is not meant to look at the eviction procedure in general, but its focus is limited to the role that the municipality is required to play when eviction proceedings are brought before the court in terms of the PIE Act. However, to give context, it is worth noting that for a person (the applicant) to successfully bring an application for eviction of another person (the respondent) the applicant will have to show that:

· s/he is the owner or the person in charge of the property in question, and

· the respondent is an unlawful occupier, as defined in the PIE Act.

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