'SA eviction law protects both unlawful occupiers and landlords' – lawyer
John Maytham interviews Sithelo Magagula, a public law lawyer.
Magagula argues against the proposed amendments to the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act of 1998 (PIE Act).
The amendments seek to criminalise unlawful occupation and exempt the state from providing alternative housing to evicted individuals.
According to Magagula, this would undermine the Constitutional rights of individuals, specifically the right to access adequate housing as enshrined in Section 26 of the South African Constitution.
The Act, which aims to strike a balance between the rights of landowners and unlawful occupiers, obliges courts to consider the circumstances before making eviction orders.
Magagula says that the problem lies more so with municipalities failing to budget for alternative accommodation, than with the Act itself.
He adds that the court has to come up with a just and equitable order, which they have done in the past.
I feel some people forget that the right to housing is a social economic right that is justiciable.Sithelo Magagula, Lawyer in Public Law
Municipalities are failing to come up with a clear policy framework on how to deal with these issues.Sithelo Magagula, Lawyer in Public Law
For me, it's not really the issue of the Act, but the issue of municipalities failing to come up with policies which will actually deal with all these issues.Sithelo Magagula, Lawyer in Public Law
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