The court order that Sanral used to remove people and structures off its land is unconstitutional, the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (Nadel) said on Wednesday.
“This court order is actually, in accordance with general constitutional principles, unconstitutional and unenforceable,” said Nadel’s Western Cape chairman Joey Moses.
“It could never serve as any legal basis to evict people from Lwandle and on the face of it, it does not authorise any such evictions.”
Moses was presenting to an inquiry investigating the removals off a SA National Roads Agency Limited road reserve in Lwandle, Cape Town, on June 2 and June 3.
He said the order obtained on January 24 was addressed to people intending to occupy the land, clearly excluding those who had already established their homes.
Where such an interim court order effectively served as an eviction order, certain eviction protections applied.
“If those eviction protections are not considered by a court of law before issuing a court order, that order falls to be set aside.”
The association made 10 recommendations to the inquiry on how land removals could be better dealt with in future.
One of these was to amend the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act (PIE) Act, to include a report from a probation officer before evictions took place.
This report would need to provide information such as the availability of suitable alternative accommodation, how the eviction would affect constitutional rights and measures that would be put in place to prevent further land invasions.
Another recommendation was to provide judges and magistrates with comprehensive training in respect of the PIE act and other land tenure regulations. SAPA