City was right to evict pensioner - ConCourt

2014-09-18 20:48
The Constitutional Court (Picture: Sapa)

The Constitutional Court (Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The City of Cape Town was right in evicting a pensioner from her home because of illegal activity on her property, the Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday.

"The majority judgment... concluded that the City validly cancelled the lease because of Ms Malan’s arrear rental and the illegal activities conducted on the property," the court said.

It was dismissing 75-year-old Johanna Malan's appeal against an eviction order served on her by the city.

"Ms Malan was notified and aware of the illegal activities, but did nothing to prevent them from continuing."

In February, Malan sought to challenge a Western Cape High Court judgment that she be evicted from her home, provided the city provide her with alternative accommodation.

Malan entered a lease agreement with the city in 1979 for subsidised housing, which the government provided to low-income people or families.

Malan, who is ill, relies on her pension as her only source of income. Her two adult sons, her adult daughter, and her two minor grandchildren live with her.

IOL reported in February that Malan is the mother of alleged Manenberg gang boss Shawn Malan.

In 2008, she fell behind on her rent and approached the city to pay the arrears in instalments. In October that year, the city sent her a letter informing her it intended to cancel the lease with effect from December.

In January 2009, the city sent another letter confirming cancellation of the lease and its intention to evict her.

The matter was taken to the high court, where the city argued Malan had breached the agreement. It said she was in arrears with payments, had allowed illegal activities to take place on the property, and made structural alterations without approval.

High court ruling

The high court ruled against Malan and ordered her eviction in terms of the Prevention of Illegal Eviction and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act (PIE). This was on condition the city provides her with alternative accommodation.

Malan turned to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which denied her application for leave to appeal.

According to the Constitutional Court judgment, the city lawfully cancelled the lease agreement because of the illegal activities on the property.

"As Ms Malan will be adequately accommodated as proposed, there is no good reason why the property should not be made available to a deserving, needy family.

"We were informed by counsel for the city that there are many thousands of people waiting to be accommodated."

The city had to bear in mind the rights and needs of the people waiting to be accommodated.

"I am satisfied that the high court was correct in ordering the eviction," the judgment reads.

The city had argued in the Constitutional Court that it undertook to place Malan in an old-age home and fulfilled the requirements of PIE.

No costs were held against Malan, as she had raised an important constitutional issue pertaining to housing.

Read more on:    concourt  |  cape town  |  housing  |  crime

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