Concourt to rule on farm eviction dispute

2013-03-13 13:41

Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court will hear an application on Thursday on the rights of land owners and their tenants.

Farm owner Lawrence Juta originally approached the Stellenbosch Magistrate's Court to evict some members of his former domestic worker's family.

Magrieta Hattingh continued staying on the farm after she had stopped working for Juta in terms of a previous agreement, which allowed her and her husband, who later died, to live in part of a labourer's cottage.

Hattingh's adult sons Pieter and Michael, and Michael's wife Edwina, moved in with her.

Edwina was temporarily employed by Juta. The two sons claim they occasionally also worked on the farm.

Hattingh's younger son Ricardo then moved in with his mother, as his job did not provide accommodation.

Juta wants Hattingh's older sons, daughter-in-law and grandchildren off the property, because one of his employees needs accommodation.

'Right to a family life'

The Hattinghs argue that Magrieta, who Juta does not seek to evict, has the right to a family life in terms of the Extension of Security of Tenure Act.

Under this legislation, an occupier has "a right to family life in accordance with the culture of that family".

Juta argues that this should not extend to adult self-reliant children, which the Hattinghs dispute.

The Stellenbosch Magistrate's Court ruled in favour of the Hattinghs, but Juta approached the Land Claims Court, which overturned that judgment and granted an eviction order.

The matter was then taken to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which upheld the Land Claims Court's ruling.

The Constitutional Court will consider the interpretation of the act and weigh up the Hattinghs' rights to family life with Juta's rights as a land owner.

The decision of the Constitutional Court on the meaning and ambit of an occupier's right to family life may affect many families who live on farms owned by their employers.

  • PaulDeLaRey - 2013-03-13 13:56

    In other words, a farmworker who has been fired but stays on the property, can have his entire extended family move in with him because he has the right to family life. What bs laws will these incompetent parasitic "people" come up with next. Throw them off. finish & klaar.

      antonofafrica - 2013-03-13 14:14

      Read it again Sheperd (BTW: the spelling is 'Shepherd')

  • antonofafrica - 2013-03-13 14:09

    & grandchildren, and cousins, and their fiancee's or latest 'fling' and the 'fling's extended family... It is only reasonable that a squatter camp spring up around each labourer's cottage...

  • Koos van der Merwe - 2013-03-13 14:12

    Don’t worry guys. The afterthought of this will make it so that no employer in his right mind will provide lodging for workers. Not only is it risky but dangerous as well. Then again who in his right mind wants to own a farm in South Africa.

  • dave.elmore.5 - 2013-03-13 14:32

    And can someone please tell me how The Hattinghs can afford to take this matter all the way to the ConCourt? Who is funding this?

  • GrantE - 2013-03-13 14:35

    The farmer is not trying to evict the lady in question , he is trying to evict the lowdown no-good sit on there a@$S family that has moved in with her illegally and now occupy a house that belongs to the farmer.

  • Liezl Haramis - 2013-03-13 14:37

    Throw them out and stop wasting precious air by trying to reason with morons!!!

  • Liezl Haramis - 2013-03-13 14:37

    Throw them out and stop wasting precious air by trying to reason with morons!!!

  • stirrer.stirrer - 2013-03-13 14:42

    Remove the roof and send it for repairs. Then remove the doors and windows. Then knock down the walls where they have cracks in them. Repairs will take 6 months or longer.

  • Linda Horsfield - 2013-03-13 14:52

    Its time that the law makers realise that their determination to grant tenants (whether legal or not) more rights than property owners is the reason why the percentage of properties bought for investment (ie, to be let to tenants) has dropped from 25% to 7% - and this during a period when interest rates are at their lowest they have been in 20 years! Soon the government will have to start providing accommodation to middle class citizens and not only the indigent, because private property owners are sick of being forced to provide accommodation and services to tenants for free. This is the responsibility of the government - not private individuals - but if a property owner cuts electricity because the tenant is not paying - human rights activists (and the Housing Board) immediately threatens court action if the electricity is not reconnected immediately. However, if a property owner who lives in their own home doesnt pay Eskom or City power, the electricity can be cut immediately - but the courts demand that the property owner provides electricity free of charge to tenants who have breached their lease agreement by not paying rent etc. Also, owners of sectional title properties are also offered more rights under law than owners of free standing homes - because again, the owner of a free standing home will have their electricity cut if they dont pay Eskom or City Power - but an owner of a sectional title property can fail to pay levies but still demand free electricity.

      Koos van der Merwe - 2013-03-13 15:40

      @Pngwenya: If all is as fair as you say then explain to me why local municipal councils hurriedly implemented bylaws stating that the owner is responsible for the consumer accounts in full. Previously the tenant had an account and he/she was responsible but now that is no longer the case. Me thinks (and know) that they know and went to cover themselves. Ever tried to evict someone who just simply refuses to pay or move? The legal costs are ridiculous. It’s cheaper to get a few brothers off the street and “persuade” the tenants to go.

      bibi.vanzyl - 2013-03-13 19:46

      @Koos; I agree with you. We had tenants in our house in Jhb. Good jobs and seemingly a decent family. They never paid electricity or water, destroyed the carpets, woodwork and my once stunning garden. And I can tell you one thing it is not easy to get rid of them. the law is not on the landlords side. After months of legal battles and high legal costs the we eventually got a court order.

  • EyesEars HandsFeet - 2013-03-13 15:14

    I'd say the constitutional court is going to have to look at this very carefully, specially in light of "possible investors interest" in farming in SA. This can lead to a make or break and cause a precedent either way. Would be interesting to see which way.

  • trotse.boer.5 - 2013-03-13 15:53

    Wow, now i know what to do!!!!! work on a farm part-time then get ALL my family to move in and have the farmer provide accomadation!!! Thanks ANC this is the solution to housing problems.......

  • Yandisa Rwaai - 2013-03-13 16:09

    A long long time ago light skinned people from Europe came into this country and settled as they pleased. Now the owners of the land years after are still being displaced by these inhumane creatures. What saddening is that Robert Mugabe is seen as this megalomaniac and yet the people of Zimbabwe actually own their land.

      Oistar Tutu - 2013-03-13 16:35

      What owners of land are you refering to? The traditional way had it that the king owned the land, the rest of you were serfs.

      davids5070276 - 2013-03-13 16:50

      Yes, and those same people are flooding to SA as they cannot feed themselves. By the way, the "people" did not get to own the land, Mugabe's buddies and family did.

      bibi.vanzyl - 2013-03-13 19:50

      @Yandisa: the people who own land in Zimbabwe due to land grabs are all in the government or cronies of. Why are there so many Zimbos in SA? Vast semi-desert areas in SA was not inhabited by anybody and lay barren until settlers started farming there. The only original landowners in SA is the KHOI. Black Africans also came from north of the Limpopo and settled here.

  • Leon Schwenk - 2013-03-13 17:52

    yes yandisa they own the land but who feeds the majority of the population, not zimbabweans but overseas countries including the western countries who are hated so much

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