Left: Professor ZZT Boggenpoel (supervisor), Center: Miss CT Cloete (graduate), Right: Professor JM Pienaar (co-supervisor)
During the December 2016 graduation ceremonies, Miss Clireesh Cloete graduated with a LLM degree under the auspices of the SARCPL. The title of her thesis is: A critical analysis of the approach of the courts in the application of eviction remedies in the pre-constitutional and constitutional context.
Her dissertation concerns the following:
In the pre-constitutional era courts had a very specific approach to eviction remedies. This approach was the result of legal doctrine that regulated the concept of ownership, eviction remedies and standard practices of presiding officers as entrenched in rules of interpretation and procedural rules. The advent of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (the “Constitution”) transformed the eviction landscape by way of section 26(3) of the Constitution and the subsequent promulgation of the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998 (“PIE”). After the first Constitutional Court judgment Port Elizabeth Municipality v Various Occupiers (2005 (1) SA 217 (CC) it became apparent that the PIE not only replaced the pre-constitutional eviction remedies but in fact also required that the deep-level assumptions of a landowner’s right to evict and the standard practices associated with the courts’ role in eviction cases were also revolutionised. The pivotal consideration of this study, in light of these developments of eviction law brought about by the constitutional dawn, is whether the courts are indeed approaching and applying PIE in line with their mandate. This is critical as a superficial shift will only frustrate the transformative thrust of the Constitution in the context of eviction. The study of the courts’ approach to eviction remedies in the pre-constitutional and constitutional context has shown that section 26(3) and PIE have indeed transformed the eviction landscape on a theoretical basis. In this regard, the courts’ approach to eviction remedies has changed from conservative, formalistic and passive in the preconstitutional era to context-sensitive, flexible and proactive. However, some courts, especially the lower courts, are still failing to apply PIE as mandated. This is due to the continued pre-constitutional deep-level assumptions of the strength of the landowner’s right to evict, combined with procedural practices that form part of their pre-constitutional legal culture. Interestingly, the specific focus on landowners in this study indicated that this failure on the part of the court is surprisingly problematic for landowners