Mortgage bonds and the right of access to adequate housing in South Africa: Gundwana v Stoke Development & Others 2011 (3) SA 608 (CC)

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • SDG 11
  • Abstract:

    English: This article offers a critique of Gundwana v Stoke Development & Others 2011 (3) SA 608 (CC), a case in which the Constitutional Court of South Africa found it to be unconstitutional for the registrar of a high court to declare immovable properties specially executable when ordering a default judgement, to the extent that such an order “permitted the sale and execution of a home of a person”. The Court interpreted the property clause in section 25, access to right to housing in section 26 of the Constitution, as mandating “further judicial oversight” in all cases where execution is levied against residential property. The article raises some of the shortcomings of this interpretive scheme and suggests that constitutional values, when used to curtail or enlarge obligations of parties to a mortgage bond, must take into account the general rights and duties which the parties assumed at the signing of the agreement; the circumstances of each of the parties at the time of execution and ascertained through a careful evaluation based on a clearly articulated set of principles, and the nature of constitutional rights themselves. The article argues that, whereas there may be circumstances in which a debtor may need protection, rather than impose a blanket abrogation of procedures allowing for expedient disposal of uncontested claims, the court should instead have considered the establishment of further procedural safeguards.