Saturday 19 August 2017
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement
Cato Manor: Violent Evictions in Total Disregard for the Law
On 27 July 2017 the eThekwini Municipality was interdicted against demolishing, burning, removing or otherwise destroying and disposing of housing structures or threatening to do so in seven communities affiliated to Abahlali baseMjondolo, including Cato Manor. Those whose homes had been destroyed were given the right to rebuild them.
However the eThekwini municipality has continued with its violent and unlawful eviction in Cato Manor. Yesterday at about 10:30 am municipal security guards arrived at the Cato Manor settlement and forcefully grabbed Mlungisi Mokwena, an 18 year old activist. Mokwena was resting in his shack when the guards forcefully pulled him out of his shack and simple shot him on his leg without any provocation or argument. Near him was Sthembele Qwabe who was also severely assaulted by these security guards. They went on to destroy the homes of around 75 families. Continue reading
Safura Abdool Karim, GroundUp
On 8 June 2017, the Constitutional Court handed down a judgment, which clarifies the role of judges in eviction proceedings and is a victory for unrepresented people facing eviction.
The case involved almost 200 people who are occupying a property in Berea and who were subject to an eviction order made in 2013. The occupiers, represented by the Socio-economic Rights Institute, appealed against an eviction order granted by the High Court in Johannesburg. The Constitutional Court then heard the appeal earlier this year. Continue reading
by Sandra Liebenberg, GroundUp
On 4 October 2014, it will be 14 years since the Constitutional Court handed down its landmark judgment in the Grootboom housing case. The judgment explained some of the key duties imposed on the State by the right of access to adequate housing in section 26 of the Constitution.
This ruling has helped to transform evictions law in South Africa. But what do the Grootboom judgment and housing legislation mean in practice for people facing eviction or demolition of their homes?
Of particular importance is section 26 (3) of the Constitution which reads: “No one may be evicted from their homes, or have their homes demolished, without an order of court made after considering all the relevant circumstances. No legislation may permit arbitrary evictions.”
This article explores the relevant principles applicable to evictions in our constitutional era, and examines the progress that has been made and some of the key challenges that remain. Continue reading
Stuart Wilson, Open Democracy
The best account of human rights aims to protect and advance all the incidents of freedom, equality and dignity. These include freedom of thought and political action, which are incompatible with torture, arbitrary detention, or censorship. They also include freedoms to realise one’s self, which are impossible without access to the basic elements of a decent existence, such as adequate housing and healthcare, sufficient food, and quality education.
This is what we mean when we say rights are “indivisible”. They cohere around an account of the human personality that acknowledges the inherent dignity of each person; that each person counts for no more or less than any other in the distribution of the means of self-realisation; and that each person is free to pursue his or her own conception of the good, equipped with the basic necessities of life.
The jurisprudence (case law) of the South African courts (especially the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal) has significantly contributed to the right of access to adequate housing, enshrined in section 26 of the Constitution. The courts have supplemented the legal framework by developing a number of progressive legal principles that should be upheld in eviction cases. The jurisprudence has therefore led to the development of a new cluster of relationships between the parties involved in eviction proceedings, a cluster of relationships that is characterised by a series of rights and obligations pertaining to various parties. Yet despite years of litigation and a host of progressive judgments municipalities have been hesitant, unwilling or unable to act on the obligations laid down in case law. It is amid this complexity that this report seeks to provide a comprehensive analysis of the jurisprudence on evictions and alternative accommodation, and the contingent obligations on municipalities in respect of the provision of alternative accommodation. It is hoped that the report might act as a to guide activists, communities and public interest law practitioners caught up in eviction related struggles, as well as local government officials who are tasked with devising and implementing housing policy.