Picket as court mulls sales in execution of homes

28 August 2018 - 14:10
By Nonkululeko Njilo
Gogo Mviko, holding a poster that reads
Image: Nonkululeko Njilo Gogo Mviko, holding a poster that reads "Save our homes" joins a picket outside the High Court in Johannesburg.

Gogo Mviko paid home instalments for years before she fell into arrears with the bank‚ was turfed out and the property was auctioned for R100.

The 92-year-old from Vosloorus in Gauteng joined a picket outside the Johannesburg High Court which on Tuesday was hearing a case related to the foreclosure of bonds and sales in execution of properties.

“I knew that I owed the bank but I did not know that they would kick me out of the house and sell it for so little‚" she said.

Mviko lost her house during the 1980s after being retrenched and failing to pay bank arrears of R26‚000 despite having made payments for years towards the house. The house was subsequently auctioned.

The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) is making submissions‚ on behalf of the Lungelo Lethu Human Rights Foundation (LLHRF)‚ at the High Court in a case involving banks and sales in execution. Central to the case is under what circumstances a court should set a reserve price in sales and execution.

The LLHRF‚ led by King Sibiya‚ is an organisation involved in South Africa’s anti-eviction movement and has helped hundreds of people affected by evictions and insecurity of tenure arising from mortgage bonds and sales in execution.

Alexandra Ashton‚ of the Legal Resources Centre (LRC)‚ said the group wanted “to make sure that in every case where a home is going to be sold in execution a reserve price is set for a reasonable amount so that a person who is going to lose their home does not also lose their entire life savings‚” she added.

“We are calling for a grace period of six to 12 months before a house is repossessed or a reserve price as a last resort‚” said the LLHRF’s Sibiya.

Themba Manjate from Vereeniging‚ 58‚ said his home was also auctioned for a pittance in 2017. He believed it was fully paid for but a bank evicted him‚ saying he still owed money. Manjate‚ also at the picket‚ said losing his home had a disastrous effect on his family. He lost his wife who suffered a panic attack after being evicted and two of his children abandoned him‚ thinking he sold the family home. “A lot of things do not make sense‚" he said.

"Absa and Standard Bank argue that the court should only set reserve prices in sales in execution in exceptional circumstances‚ and that the court should accept the recommendations made by the banks’ experts on whether or not a reserve price should be set in each case‚" said the LRC in a statement ahead of the court hearing.