eviction - consent - Boksburg District Magistrate's Court
In this matter SERI represents Mathshidiso Mokebe, a single mother of two children who works as a hospice night nurse. Mokebe was evicted from her home by her landlord, a police officer, on 2 October 2010. This was after she fell into arrears with her rent when her third child died in infancy and she had to use her rent money to pay for his funeral.
Ms Mokebe's landlord had claimed that she left the property voluntarily because he offered her alternative accomodation. However, Ms Mokebe claimed that she was hounded out of her home by her landlord who used his position as a police officer and his service firearm to intimidate her into leaving her home under duress.
The argument before court turned on whether the facts established in the parties affidavits gave rise to an inference of consent. SERI argued that, because Ms Mokebe left her home without a court order, her conduct amounted to a waiver of her constitutional rights of access to adequate housing and protection from arbitrary eviction. That being so, the onus lay on the respondent to establish that the waiver was free and voluntary and made in the full knowledge of the consequences which would follow. SERI's legal team argued that, on the papers before the court it was absolutely clear that Ms Mokebe had been intimidated into leaving her home - not least because she left all her belongings in the property when she vacated and the respondent had not given any particulars of the alternative accommodation allegedly offered.
The Magistrate agreed with SERI's submissions and granted an order restoring Ms Mokebe to her home and interdicting and restraining her landlord from evicting her again without a court order.
The owners subsequently applied for an eviction order against her, heard in the Boksburg Magistrate Court in August 2014. Judgment in the matter came out on 29 December 2014. The Magistrate found that the landlord had failed to prove that the lease agreement was terminated and therefore Ms Mokebe is not an unlawful occupier as defined by the PIE Act. The eviction application was dismissed with costs.