Shackdwellers clinched a victory in the Durban High Court on Monday when the court ruled against a proposed scheme to evict them.
The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works’ application to appeal the court’s decision to disallow the eviction of inhabitants of 1568 properties throughout the eThekwini Municipality was dismissed with costs.
The broad scope of the MEC’s scheme and his department’s failure to notify the vast majority of the individuals who would face eviction was cited as the main reason for the decision. Continue reading
Wednesday, 19 August 2015
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement
Abahlali will be Back in the Durban High Court this Thursday, 20 August, to receive the judgment that has been reserved since 21 May 2015
Following repeated brutal and unlawful evictions at a gun point by the eThekwini Municipal Land Invasions Unit in Cato Crest (the Marikana land occupation) and Lamontville (Sisonke Village) Abahlali won several court interdicts. Each and every time we secured an interdict, or an undertaking from the Municipality to cease its illegal behaviour, the interdicts and undertakings were ignored and they continued with their violent and unlawful evictions. It is clear that the eThekwini Municipality considers itself to be above the law and impoverished black people to be beneath the law. Continue reading
Evictions: South Africa’s bitter, year-round trauma
Every year, when the temperature dips toward zero, there is a stream of stories in the national media about evictions. The stories emphasise the brutality of evictions – and what Colin Bundy, many years ago, described as the “trauma, frustration, grief, dull dragging apathy and surrender of the will to live” that follow them. And the winter weather helps us imagine the depth of that trauma, and the experience of sleeping on the streets in the frigid night air. But the reality is that evictions and their associated traumas are a year-round feature of South African society.
It isn’t supposed to be this way. Our “never again” Constitution, as the Chief Justice has called it, requires that evictions take place only with the permission of the court – and only where the court has decided that it would be fair, just and equitable to do so, all things considered. An eviction is only fair, in the eyes of our courts, if an evicted person has somewhere else to go – some shelter either provided through their own efforts, or through state support.
A Ride to Nowhere
The struggle at the relatively new Marikana shack settlement in Philippi, Cape Town, has been put on hold for the past few months. The court battle between the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) acting for the community and the legal counsel representing the City of Cape Town has led to an uncomfortable purgatory for those whose homes were illegally demolished by the city in January. Other Marikana residents were not evicted and remain on the land.
The delays clearly serve the city’s interests, yet they have dire consequences for those affected by the anti-land invasion unit’s demolitions.
The Shepherd and the Butcher
The South African government is mandated by section 7(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa to “respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights in the Bill of Rights”.
As these rights contained in the Bill of Rights vests with the ‘people’, this is implicit or rather express that the government is obliged to respect the citizens of South Africa and treat them in a dignified manner.