Answer to a question from a reader

The municipality is threatening to evict me because I don't have a title deed

The short answer

They cannot evict you without a court order. If you haven't yet, you should apply for RDP housing

The whole question

Dear Athalie

I am an unemployed single mother of one. I have been living on municipal land without a title deed since February 2016. All my neighbours have been built RDP houses and received title deeds - except for me. The municipality told me that I should not build on the land because they can evict me at any time. 

The long answer

First, you cannot be evicted without a court order, whether you are occupying the land legally or not. The court has to ask whether it would be fair and just to evict you and whether you will be left homeless if you are evicted. The court also has to take into account the effect the eviction would have on vulnerable people like you and your child. You have to be notified in writing of the date that the court will hear the eviction application and you have the right to give your side of the story in court. The municipality must also attend the court hearing and tell the court whether they can provide emergency accommodation for you if the eviction is granted. If the eviction is granted, you must be given the date when it will take place, and that date must ensure that you are given a reasonable amount of time to move. You can only be evicted by the sheriff of the court if you have not left by the date given.

You say all your neighbours have been built RDP houses and have received their title deeds. Did you also apply for an RDP house? Were you turned down?

You would qualify if you met the following criteria. You are:

  • A South African citizen

  • Over 21 and mentally competent to sign a contract

  • Married or living with a partner, or single and have dependants (single military veterans or aged people without dependents also qualify)

  • Earn less than R3,500 per month per household (so if two people in your family earn and these earnings amount to more than R3,500 per month you will not qualify)

  • A first-time government subsidy recipient

  • A first-time homeowner

Even if you have only one child, you would still qualify if you met the other criteria.

To apply for a government subsidy house, take the following documents to a provincial office of the DHS, or your municipal offices:

  • Your identity document (green book or ID card)

  • Certified copies of the birth certificate of your child

  • Proof of income if working, e.g. salary slip

You will be asked to fill in a housing subsidy application form. Depending on your province or municipality, you will then be registered on the National Housing Needs Register or your Municipal Housing Demands Database. This is a "waiting list".

Perhaps you could go to your municipality and ask them to help you to apply if you haven’t done so. And if your application was refused, ask them to explain on what grounds it was refused, and what you can do. 

The MEC for housing in each province has the right to review decisions on a case-by-case basis. These are the contact numbers for government housing assistance in the different provinces:

  • Housing Enquiries Hotline: 0800 146 873

  • Gauteng: 011 355 4000

  • Western Cape: 079 769 1207 (Please Call Me)

  • Eastern Cape: 043 711 9901/2/3

  • KwaZulu Natal: 033 392 6400 or 033 336 5300

  • North West: 018 388 5403

  • Limpopo: 015 284 5000

  • Northern Cape: 053 830 9422

  • Free State: 051 405 3883

  • Mpumalanga: 013 766 6088

Wishing you the best,

Answered on Feb. 9, 2021, 4:20 p.m.

See more questions and answers

Please note. We are not lawyers or financial advisors. We do our best to make the answers accurate, but we cannot accept any legal liability if there are errors.