eviction application - Johannesburg Magistrate's Court
SERI represents Mrs Muriel Botha, 58-year-old woman living at the Brixton Fire station.
She came to live at the firestation in 1979 after her husband began working the City of Johannesburg’s (the City) Emergency Management Services (EMS).
On 26 May 2011, almost one year after Mrs. Botha’s husband died, she received a letter from EMS instructing her to vacate the property within 3 months. This letter came with no explanation as to how or why her occupation was suddenly dependent on her husband being alive. In addition to this, no engagement or mediation session was ever arranged by the City, who sought the eviction of Mrs Botha, to determine how this issue could be resolved without resorting to an eviction.
The matter was heard on 1 March 2016 at the Johannesburg Magistrate Court. SERI argued that the City had failed to discharge the procedural obligations prescribed by the PIE Act and developed through the housing and evictions jurisprudence. In particular, it was argued that where the state intends to remove or displace people from their existing homes, meaningful engagement is a prerequisite to the institution of eviction proceedings.
The Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court dismissed the City's application on 16 March 2016.
In his judgment, Magistrate Viana denounced the City, stating that it “did not engage Mrs Botha in a caring manner – bearing in mind the elements of grace and compassion… to arrive at a mutually beneficial solution."