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Are evictions from family homes during Lockdown Alert Level 2 allowed?

Evictions Alert Level 2 South Africa Lockdown

Can my family and I be evicted from our home during Lockdown Alert Level 2? What are the changes to the regulations?

At 00:01 this morning (18 August 2020), South Africa moved to lockdown alert level 2. A change was made to the eviction laws. In short, it is now possible to evict people from their homes. However, a court may stay or suspend the eviction order “if it is of the opinion that it is just or equitable to do so”. Read on further below to learn more on this issue. Furthermore, almost all economic activities are allowed, except for the following:

  1. Night clubs.
  2. International passenger air travel for leisure purposes.
  3. Passenger ships for international leisure purposes.
  4. Attendance of any sporting event by spectators.
  5. International sports events.
  6. Exclusions relating to public transport services as set out in the directions issued by the Cabinet member responsible for transport.
  1. Exclusions relating to education services as set out in the directions issued by the Cabinet members responsible for education.

Evictions during the National Lockdown

In terms of the previous Disaster Management Act Regulations, eviction orders were to be stayed and suspended until the last day of the alert level 3 period. This only related to your home or land. The court dealing with the eviction matter could order that the eviction not be stayed and suspended if it decides that it is not just and equitable to do so until the last day of the Alert Level 3 period. However, if the court determines it isn’t just and equitable to suspend the eviction order, it may order that the eviction takes place during level 3. Read this article dealing with the issue.

Alert level 2 Eviction Regulations during the Lockdown

The following are the regulations regarding evictions which came into effect at 00h01 this morning.

“Eviction and demolition of places of residence

  1. (1) A person may not be evicted from his or her land or home or have his or her place of residence demolished for the duration of the national state of disaster unless a competent court has granted an order authorising the eviction or demolition.

(2) A competent court may suspend or stay any order for eviction or demolition contemplated in subregulation (1) until after the lapse or termination of the national state of disaster unless the court is of the opinion that it is not just or equitable to suspend or stay the order having regard, in addition to any other relevant consideration, to-

(a) the need, in the public interest for all persons to have access to a place of residence and basic services to protect their health and the health of others and to avoid unnecessary movement and gathering with other persons;

(b) any restrictions on movement or other relevant restrictions in place at the relevant time in terms of these regulations;

(c) the impact of the disaster on the parties;

(d) the prejudice to any party of a delay in executing the order and whether such prejudice outweighs the prejudice of the person who will be subject to the order;

(e) whether any affected person has been prejudiced in his or her ability to access legal services as a result of the disaster;

(f) whether affected persons will have immediate access to an alternative place of residence and basic services;

(g) whether adequate measures are in place to protect the health of any person in the process of a relocation;

(h) whether any occupier is causing harm to others or there is a threat to life;

and

(i) whether the party applying for such an order has taken reasonable steps in good faith, to make alternative arrangements with all affected persons, including, but not limited to, payment arrangements that would preclude the need for any relocation during the national state of disaster.

(3) A court hearing any application to authorise an eviction or demolition may, where appropriate and in addition to any other report that is required by law, request a report from the responsible member of the executive regarding the availability of any emergency accommodation or quarantine or isolation facilities pursuant to these regulations.”

 It is therefore now allowed to evict persons from their homes. However, the eviction order may be suspended or stayed until the end of the national state of disaster based on the factors mentioned above.

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