Submission on draft Expropriation Bill, February 2019. On 21 December 2019, the Minister of Public Works published an invitation for interested parties to comment on the draft Expropriation Bill, 2019. SERI has considered the draft Bill and made a submission to the Minister in accordance with the public consultation process. The Expropriation Bill is a welcome affirmation of the state’s role in unlocking land for developmental and redistributive purposes. However, SERI considers that more could be done to ensure that the Bill is situated within a more thoroughly worked-out programme of urban land reform that has appropriate regard to the wealth of already existing regulatory instruments and opportunities to use expropriation to facilitate pro-poor land reform. SERI’s primary concerns relate to the exclusion of individuals from being able to initiate the expropriation process; limitations on the ability to expropriate state-owned land; the location of the draft Bill in relation to existing legislation; the expropriation of state-subsidised property for nil compensation; the limitations on the ability for citizens to monitor the implementation of the expropriation process; and the definition of “purely speculative purposes”.>> Read SERI’s submission here.
Informal Settlements and Human Rights in South Africa: Submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing, May 2018.In 2018, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing announced her intention to devote her forthcoming report to the UN General Assembly to the issue of informal settlements and human rights. SERI, in collaboration with the Steering Group of South Africa’s Ratification Campaign of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and its Optional Protocol (the Campaign), made a submission on informal settlements in South Africa. The submission includes statistical data on the number of people living in informal settlements, the profound inequalities in access to basic services in informal settlements, the environmental, health and safety concerns facing informal settlement residents, and the legal and policy framework governing informal settlements in South Africa. >>Read the Special Rapporteur's questionnaire here and the joint submission here.
Submission to Parliament on Land Expropriation, 2018. SERI made a submission to the Joint Committee on Constitutional Review in Parliament, which has been tasked with reviewing section 25 of the Constitution (the property clause). The committee was established in response to a decision taken by Parliament in February to consider whether an amendment should be made to the Constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation. SERI’s submission considers expropriation as a policy tool for the implementation of land reform and highlights the potential that it has to assist the state in unlocking speculatively held or abandoned land. It further argues that expropriation can enable the state to acquire vacant land and buildings which could then be used for the provision of permanent housing. The submission further considers expropriation in relation to the Constitution and existing law and conclude that the state may, within existing laws, take a much more proactive approach to expropriation, by employing the existing instruments at its disposal to bring about meaningful land reform. Only once those efforts have been tested and found wanting will it be possible to consider whether constitutional and statutory amendments are necessary or desirable. >>Read SERI's submission here.
Submission on City of Johannesburg's Draft Inclusionary Housing Incentives, Regulations and Mechanisms, 2018. SERI submitted written comments on the City of Johannesburg Draft Inclusionary Housing: Incentives, Regulations and Mechanisms, which makes it mandatory for any property development in the City that consists of ten or more dwelling units to include at least 20% inclusionary housing. SERI's submission welcomes the spirit of the draft policy, which clearly attempts to address the acute lack of rental housing that caters for poor and low-income households in the City in a manner that promotes spatial justice. However, the submission also raises a number of concerns with the policy. In particular, the policy fails to ensure that inclusionary housing units are made available to low-income households (households earning less than R3 200 a month); does not link the rental in inclusionary housing to household income; and lacks accountability or enforcement measures to ensure that property developers, social housing institutions and body corporates comply with the policy. >>Read the draft policy here and SERI's submission here.
Submission on the amendmentsto Rule 46 of the Uniform Rules of Court and Rule 43 of the Magistrates’ Court Rules, 29 January 2016. On 29 January 2016, SERI made a submission to the Rules Board for Courts of Law (the Rules Board) in response to an invitation for interested parties to comment on proposed amendments to Rule 46 of the Uniform Rules of Court and Rule 43 of the Magistrates’ Court Rules. These Rules regulate the sale in execution of immovable property in the higher courts and magistrates’ courts respectively. >>Read SERI's full submission here.
SERI submission on the Mpumalanga Eradication, Prevention and Control of Informal Settlements Bill, 4 December 2012. SERI has written a submission on the recently published Mpumalanga Eradication, Prevention and Control of Informal Settlements Bill, 2012. The submission is endorsed by a number of individuals and organisations, including Abahlali baseMjondolo, Batho Land and Shelter (BLS), Centre for Urban and Built Environment Studies (CUBES), Built Environment Support Group (BESG), Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS), Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC), Planact and Urban LandMark. >> Read the Bill here and the joint submission here.
SERI submission on the National Sanitation Policy, 2011. The National Sanitation Programme within the Department of Human Settlements (DHS), together with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), is revising the 2001 White Paper on Basic Household Sanitation. Read SERI's submissions on the draft National Sanitation Policy here.
SERI involved in SAHRC hate speech complaint hearing, 28 November 2011. SERI's Director of Litigation, Stuart Wilson has been appointed as an advisor to the South African Human Rights Commission's panel currently considering a range of complaints of hate speech against Julius Malema made by the Afrikanerbond. His submissions emphasise the need to consider harmful or offensive political speech in context, and to construe hate speech law narrowly in a manner which impinges as little as possible on freedom of expression. Read more here.
Submission on the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Bill, 2011 (SPLUMB). National government is in the process of creating national legislation on spatial planning and land use management in South Africa. This process has been stalled numerous times since the White Paper on Spatial Planning and Land Use Management was gazetted over ten years ago in 2001. See the proposed legislation here and SERI's submission here. Also of interest are submissions by the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) and Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR).
Submission on the Limpopo Prevention and Control of Informal Settlements Bill, 2011. A number of organisations and individuals have endorsed a submission on this proposed provincial legislation which was drafted by SERI. The submission inter alia describes how the Bill does not have sufficient regard to the decision of the Constitutional Court in Abahlali baseMjondolo v The Premier of KwaZulu Natal 2010 (2) BCLR 99 (CC), which was far from being a qualified endorsement of the KwaZulu Natal (KZN) Slums Act. Read the submission here. SERI has also endorsed a comment on the Bill from a policy perspective, written by Prof Marie Huchzermeyer. Read the comment here.
SERI endorses civil society request for extension to Zimbabwe Documentation Project, 9 December 2010. Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) together with a number of civil society organisations, including SERI, have endorsed a letter of complaint to the Office of the Public Protector, requesting that the deadline for Zimbabwe Documentation Project be extended. The Department of Home Affairs has refused to extend the deadline for new applications to the Zimbabwe Documentation Project, despite a number of problems with the process. Read the LHR press release here and the letter to the Public Protector here.
SERI endorses Submission on the Social Assistance Amendment Bill, 2010. SERI has endorsed the Aids Law Project (ALP) Submission on the Social Assistance Amendment Bill, which raises some serious concerns around access to justice and the rule of law. The submission focuses on two of the proposed amendments, namely the insertion of the definition of 'disability' and the change in the appeal procedure following an adverse decision in respect of an application for a disability grant. ALP and SERI are of the view that the definition, although intended to clarify who is eligible for a grant and who is not, is actually vague and will not assist decision-makers or applicants for grants and will compound confusion in the system. The amendment to the appeal process essentially introduces a double appeal, which will likely lead to even greater delays in the finalisation of the disability grant application process and to an infringement of rights. Read the Submission and Annexure (16 April 2010), as well as a Supplementary Submission (28 April 2010).
SERI comments on the 2010/11 national budget. SERI was asked to comment on the 2010/11 Budget Speech by Minister Gordhan, choosing to focus on issues around meaningful engagement, industrial policy, informal trading, housing and basic services in its submission. Read the submission here.