A person dispossessed of property without due legal procedure, can apply to Court to have the property returned to him without the Court looking at the merits of the case at that stage. This is the mandament van spolie and is often also referred to as a ‘spoliation application’. The remedy requires only that the applicant shows that he had peaceful and undisturbed possession and was unlawfully deprived thereof; ownership is not a requirement.
Even if the person in possession is not the owner, the true owner cannot simply take the law into his own hands by taking possession, for example, by changing the locks to keep a non-paying tenant out. The owner must follow due legal process to restore his rightful possession. The owner retains the right to claim costs and damages, if indicated after following the correct legal process.
Contact us at STBB should you require assistance.