DA’s PIE Amendment Bill more vital than ever after Joburg fires

Issued by Luyolo Mphithi MP – DA Shadow Minister of Human Settlements
04 Sep 2023 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Luyolo Mphithi MP.

Parliament continues to drag its feet in tabling the DA’s Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation Of Land Amendment Bill for its first reading in Parliament.

Until this is done, the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements cannot deliberate on the Bill which continues to have a severe impact for illegal land invasions across South Africa.

The fire that killed at least 76 people in a five-story building in Johannesburg on 31 of August indicates the severe problems that the Act has. Currently, the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998 (“PIE”), creates a rigid set of definitions and requirements that need to be followed in order for a person to be lawfully evicted.

Our contention is that the PIE Act must allow the state to prevent further unlawful invasions of land and criminally charge those who incite these invasions.

The DA has always been at the forefront of protecting property owner’s rights, whilst ensuring that the poorest and most vulnerable in our society are cared for by the State within its available means. The DA has furthermore been at the forefront of defending constitutional values and the human rights of all citizens.

However, if decisive action is not taken to address and regulate the issue of on-going and orchestrated land invasions, this crisis will materialise as legislatively enabled expropriation without compensation. This not only deprives property owners of their rights, but it also deprives the rights of poor South Africans who have been patiently and lawfully waiting for government to provide them with a home, in line with the housing demand data base.

The DA’s proposed Amendment Bill aims to:

  • extend the offence to incite or promote orchestrated unlawful invasions to include instances where no payment was received or solicited;
  • extend the explicit criteria that must be considered by a court during court proceedings before an order for eviction may be granted; and
  • provide for the courts to make an order related to alternative accommodation or land, and to require courts to stipulate the period of time that alternative accommodation or land would need to be provided for an unlawful occupier.

The delay from Parliament in tabling the First Reading of this Bill and allowing the Portfolio Committee to do its job brings with it significant implications for people across South Africa.

The DA is the only party that has brought viable, lawful and humane solutions to the table and we call on Parliament to urgently table, deliberate and pass this Bill so that tragedies such as what happened in Johannesburg will not be allowed to happen again.

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