On behalf of the residents of Ingelosi House in Berea (52 men and women, who live together with their 32 children) SERI has filed heads of argument in an appeal against a decision of Victor J in the High Court. The appeal, which has been set down for a hearing in the Gauteng Local Division of the High Court for 10 May 2017, is against the decision of Victor J which granted an eviction against the residents.
Though some of the residents appeared in person in court before Victor J, they were not legally represented, nor were they aware of their rights in terms of the the Constitution and the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act (PIE). The residents now argue that Victor J failed to follow mandatory legal requirements set out in legislation and comprehensively interpreted in judgments of the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court.
Victor J, the residents argue, was obliged to proactively determine their circumstances fully and conclude whether, in all of the relevant circumstances, granting an eviction order would be just and equitable. This she failed to do. These rights, the residents argue, are not capable of being waived by unrepresented litigants such as themselves. In addition, Victor J failed to ensure that the City of Johannesburg was joined in the proceedings, a mandatory requirement in the context of eviction proceedings which may well result in the homelessness of occupiers in the residents' position.
On appeal, the residents are therefore seeking an order setting aside Victor J's eviction order, joining the City of Johannesburg to the proceedings and remitting the matter to the court a quo for a determination of whether, in all the relevant circumstances, an eviction order in terms of PIE is just and equitable.