n South African Law Journal - Breaking the tie : evictions from private land, homelessness and a new normality

Volume 126, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-2503
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2177



It's time to face facts. Section 26 of the Constitution and section 4(7) of the PIE Act limit common-law rights of ownership. A court will not normally order an eviction that will lead to homelessness unless it is satisfied that alternative accommodation has been or can be made available - usually as part of a municipality's housing programme. This article sets out how and why the jurisprudence has developed to this point. It also argues that more is required. The law has now created a tie between ownership and unlawful occupation - at least where homelessness would follow upon an eviction. The only way to break this tie is to hold the state accountable in a regular and predicable way for its obligations to shelter unlawful occupiers under threat of eviction. This article sketches out how this might be achieved. In doing so, it argues for a new approach to property relations - a 'new normality'.

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