Reflecting on Evictions and Unlawful Occupation of Land in South Africa: Where Do Some Gaps Still Remain?




PIE, Unlawful occupation, Evictions


The issue of unlawful occupation and homelessness has been a very prominent topic for many decades. While our approach to evictions and unlawful occupation has clearly shifted from a draconian approach under the Prevention of Illegal Squatting Act 51 of 1951 (hereafter PISA) to an approach that focusses on human rights under the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998 (hereafter PIE), there are still various aspects that potentially fall short in protecting the rights of the various stakeholders involved in these disputes. In particular, this paper focusses on three areas where PIE potentially falls short. In this regard we examine cases of the impossibility of eviction orders, our current understanding of the notion of "home", and whether or not PIE applies to both occupied and unoccupied structures. We also briefly explore issues relating to the non-implementation of PIE, especially in relation to the government's goal of preventing unlawful occupation. Central to these discussions is whether our current approach is sufficient and in line with constitutional obligations or whether we need to rethink our approaches to ensure that we do not undo the progress made since apartheid.


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Author Biographies

Zsa-Zsa Boggenpoel, Stellenbosch University

Professor in Private Law, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Sameera Mahomedy, University of Witwatersrand South Africa

Researcher in law and policy, SAMRC/Wits Centre for Health Economics and Decision Science – PRICELESS SA University of Witwatersrand, South Africa




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How to Cite

Boggenpoel, Z.-Z., & Mahomedy, S. (2024). Reflecting on Evictions and Unlawful Occupation of Land in South Africa: Where Do Some Gaps Still Remain?. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 27, (Published on 19 January 2024) pp 1–44.




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