ZACC 21
Judgement Date:17 May 2019
Post Judgment Media Summary
The following explanatory note is provided to assist the media in reporting this case and is not binding on the Constitutional Court or any member of the Court.
On Friday, 17 May 2019 at 10h00 the Constitutional Court handed down judgment in an application for leave to appeal against a judgment by the High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Local Division, Johannesburg (High Court), which granted a spoliation order in favour of Mr Gcingca (the respondent).
The dispute in the High Court arose from a contract between the parties in terms of which the respondent agreed to do building work for Mr Muhanelwa (the applicant) on his property. While the building work progressed, the applicant vacated the property and the respondent took control and occupation of it. The building work, although finished, was not done to the applicant’s satisfaction. He obtained an “occupation certificate” and moved back onto the property with his family. In response, the respondent successfully applied for a spoliation order from the High Court. On appeal to this Court the applicant argues that the spoliation order breaches his right of access to housing and results in the permanent dispossession or eviction of him as owner.
The Constitutional Court decided the matter without oral argument but with the benefit of written submissions. In a unanimous judgment penned by Froneman J, the Court held that the matter did not involve constitutional or other legal issues of general public importance, and thus did not engage the Court’s jurisdiction. The Court further held that this is a commercial dispute between private parties and that the applicant may regain possession of his property by ordinary legal means. Accordingly the Court found that it was not in the interests of justice to grant leave to appeal.
The Full judgment here