Michele du Plessis
After a long process, most of the unlawful occupiers of the RDP house at Extension 10 in Sabie were evicted. SAPS, assisted by the Red Ants Security Company, removed the illegal occupants and their possessions from the RDP houses. Amidst the chaos, shouts of anger and rubber bullets fired, an illegal occupier tried to set fire to the house he occupied. He ran away, but he was apprehended by the police.
“Thaba Chweu Local Municipality (TCLM) has finally evicted the unlawful occupiers of the RDP houses at Extension 10 in Sabie. The eviction took place on March 17th, 2020 giving effect to the eviction order that was obtained in November 2019. TCLM had since held back on the implementation of the order to allow for proper consolation with all relevant stakeholders.
Due consideration and the respect of human rights was observed by the municipality during the process as some of the illegal occupiers were the elderly and people with disabilities,” Themba Sibiya, Communication and Marketing Manager at Thaba Chweu Local Municipality said.
After the eviction, houses were then allocated to the rightful beneficiaries in a process overseen by the Department of Human Settlements and the Housing Division of TCLM.
Themba Sibiya explained the process. “The protracted process started in late 2018 when TCLM served the unlawful occupiers with a notice of application for eviction. In early 2019, the unlawful occupiers through their attorneys opposed the application. After an exchange of court applications, the legal representative of the unlawful occupiers withdrew as their attorney. After the TCLM filed own papers, the occupiers appointed a new attorney.
2019 mid-year the Sheriff served another notice for the motion for eviction on the occupiers. The matter eventually set for trial on 22 August 2019 where it was postponed due to the unavailability of a judge. The matter went back to court late 2019 wherein an eviction order was granted in favour of TCLM after the legal representatives of the unlawful occupiers entered into a settlement agreement to have the eviction order granted against the unlawful occupiers. A final court order was issued by the judge wherein the Sheriff was instructed to serve the unlawful occupiers. The Order had timeframes upon which to vacate the premises.”
Before the eviction was done, the Sheriff invited all relevant stakeholders (i.e. SAPS, Department of Social Development, Department of Human Settlements and TCLM).
“After consultation with the stakeholders, the Sheriff and SAPS agreed on a date for the eviction and the court order was served twice upon the unlawful occupiers. The evictions were carried out without any major incidences with the assistance of the Red Ants Security Company and the SAPS,” Themba Sibiya concluded.
UPDATE ON EVICTION: The situation has not entirely been resolved as some of the unlawful occupiers moved back into the houses, and some of the beneficiaries still has not received their houses. TCLM and SAPS were present on Thursday 19th October to resolve the situation.