Regulation 36 of the Disaster Management Act, 57 of 2002 (28 May 2020) (“the Act”) reads as follows:
“36. (1) Subject to sub regulation (2), a person may not be evicted from his or her land or home during the period of Alert Level 3. (2) A competent court may grant an order for the eviction of a person from his or her land or home in terms of the provisions of the Extension of Security of Tenure Act, 1997 (Act No. 62 of 1997) and the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act, 1998 (Act No. 19 of 1998). Provided that an order of eviction may be stayed and suspended until the last day of the Alert Level 3 period, unless a court decides that it is not just and equitable to stay and suspend the order until the last day of the Alert Level 3 period.
Regulation 36 of the Act makes it clear that an order for the eviction of an individual from residential property and/or housing situated in agricultural land can proceed in so far as a competent court can adjudicate upon the matter. In the event that a competent court grants an eviction order, the execution of such order would be stayed and unenforceable until the end of alert level 3, however can proceed should the court find that there is merits for an immediate removal of the relevant occupier.
The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services issued revised directives on 2 June 2020, in terms of Regulation 4(2) of the Act. It is evident from the list of permitted legal service, that all processes and pleadings can now be issued by a competent court and served via the Sheriff of court. The directive makes it clear that the Sheriff is still prohibited from evicting individuals in terms of Regulation 36 of the Act, unless otherwise directed by the court.
It is also important to note that individuals, currently in unlawful occupation of your property, are permitted to relocate from one house to another as set out in the Directive issued in terms of Regulation 27(2)(f) of the Act. The aforementioned means that individuals who have access to alternative accommodation must vacate your premises in accordance with this directive otherwise same can be used against them as a substantive argument in eviction proceedings to be instituted against them.
As a property owner it is very important to notify an individual, who is in unlawful occupation of property, of the fact that he/she can relocate at this point of the lockdown regulations, failing which eviction proceedings can persist.
In the event that you require the assistance of an eviction law specialist, kindly contact our offices to arrange a consultation.