Question posted in the General Law category relating to Gauteng
Good day, i need to verify. My brother was evicted from the place he was renting. The items in the house was left abandoned for months. Some of the belongings were my mothers. My mother and me arranged for collection of items and it was stored as a favour to her and my brother in my garage since 19 March 2023 with strict instructions that all items must be removed from my property by no later than end March 2023. During the time the items was here my mom removed all her stuff but as she then decided to move in with a man that already had a full house she did not have space for everything and as per her whatsapp voicenotes she brought items back for my brother. Note this is all small items i.e. kitchen stuff not any expensive items mostly plates glasses some bowl etc and linen stuff etc. There was alot of toys and things of his 3 children no furniture or electronics etc. After being constantly ignored by my brother and phoning numerous times sending messages etc he made several empty promises to collect the items. Both my mother and brother is aware of the fact that we are immigrating end of the year and that contractors would have started work in May to renovate the house so that we can sell. My husband is already in Australia. As my brother did not collect the items even after I advised that if items are not removed I will donate them. My entire garage was packed with big boxes scattered around and i dont have place to store these items any longer. I eventually contacted my brothers ex wife and she came and collected the childrens stuff and advised to donate the items of the children that remained behind. I did phone legalwise to confirm what i can legally do. My mother got involved after i advised her that my brother is not coming back to me. This sounds like an episode of days of our lives but unfortuanetly it is just another day in my life. I tried to help them. Once my mother no longer needed me to drive her up and down while my brother repeatedly lied and made excuses to not return her car after he admitted to selling of her furniture without her permission etc i was moved to the dispossable column again and when i did not jump according to her instructions where she told me I will wait till they collect the items, i was threatened with having a case of theft opened against me as well as small claims court. The contractors needs to gain access to the garage where the items are as there is cracks painting eyc to be done they are also busy inside the house and have to do laminate wood flooring so space is limited as i have already sold most of my belongings as well to make space. It would have cost me additional money for not being able to give them access to the garage as they allocated 30 days to complete the work. So after 3 addisional extensions granted and almost 3 months of them being aware of everything and more failure to arrive according to agreements i have donated the items to Solidariteit Helpende Hande and i have photo proof as well as a document from them stating there was no money exchanged and was donated. My mom previously confirmed on whatsapp just prior to moving in with the gentleman mentioned that she had 2 boxes for my brother that she was bringing here. Therefore all remaining items belonged to my brothet according to her communication. She is now addament that she will open a case of theft against me and take me to small claims court. In addition she made a point of pointing out that she has 18 months to open a case and that this will delay my departure to Australia end of the year as I will not be able to leave with an open criminal case against me. I have proof of call logs, calls going un answered and not returned, numerous whatsapo messages begging to have items removed, a few where my brother makes arrangements and when he doesnt arrive he just ignores me when i contact him.
So my question is:
1. What legal rights do i have as i was advised by legalwise that she will not be able to open case of theft, but knowing the history of my family it would not surprise me if facts are twisted so that she can proceed with a theft case just to proof a point.
I was also advised that if i am taken to small claims court she does not have leagle grounds as the itemzms were my brothers, and that with all the proof of contacting him i can proof that i did try everything to get him to collect even finding out costs for storage unit close to me.
If she does proceed with theft case and innocents is proven can i take leagle action against her if this affects my immigration?