- City of Johannesburg dumps Fattis Mansions residents in a field at gun point (21 July 2017). The City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) has moved the residents of Fattis Mansions to a field to the south of the inner city, at gun point. Despite being ordered to provide alternative accommodation by the High Court on 19 July 2017, the City has still not provided any shelter to the residents, many of whom own their units in Fattis Mansions. The residents and their furniture have been dumped in a field outside the Wemmer building, which houses City-run rental accommodation. The Wemmer building is full, however, and is not able to accommodate any of the residents. The residents are sitting on the ground with their furniture. >>Read the full press statement here.
City of Johannesburg leaves 257 men, women and children out in the cold despite court orders (20 July 2017). The High Court has ordered the City of Johannesburg to accommodate 257 men, women and children who were evicted yesterday from Fattis Mansions at 66 Harrison Street, Johannesburg. The residents of the property approached the court on an urgent basis last night at 7pm, to obtain an order allowing them to return to the building. Justice van der Linde ordered the City to accommodate the residents overnight while he considered his judgment. However the City failed to comply, forcing residents to spent the night out in the cold. This morning Justice van der Linde refused to restore the residents to the building, on the basis that the property is not safe for occupation, and directed the City to provide the residents with emergency accommodation immediately. By 3pm the City had not complied with either of these orders. >>Read the full press statement here.
SERI launches new guide on relocations to alternative accommodation (17 July 2017). On 20 July 2017 SERI launched a new resource guide, Relocating to Alternative Accommodation: Legal and Practical Guidelines. Relocations have the potential to severely disrupt peoples’ lives and negatively impact their livelihoods, community relations and sense of security. To make sure this doesn’t happen, the relocation process should be carefully planned, well-run and participatory. SERI developed these guidelines to assist those involved in the planning for and carrying out relocations to alternative accommodation, including legal practitioners and government officials dealing with housing. The guidelines offer practical guidance on how to ensure that relocations are carried out in a way that respects the constitutional rights of the people being relocated. >>Read the full media alert here.
Cape York Fire (6 July 2017). On 05 July 2017, the Cape York building in Johannesburg caught fire again, killing 7 people and injuring 7 others. Fires in Inner City buildings and settlements without water, sanitation and electricity are not uncommon, and this is not the first fire in the Cape York building. The City of Johannesburg has failed to provide meaningful solutions to help poor people who are inadequately housed in the Inner City. Life threatening conditions in unmanaged, unregulated and un-serviced Inner City buildings must be addressed. Owners of these buildings must be brought to book by the City. Residents seeking basic services can no longer be turned away by the City because they are not property owners. >>Read the full press statement here.
Constitutional Court issues ground-breaking housing judgment (8 June 2017). The Constitutional Court held that evictions that lead to homelessness are unlawful, even if they are agreed to by all of the residents who stand to be evicted. Judges must make sure that people under threat of eviction are properly informed of their rights to contest eviction proceedings and claim alternative accommodation. In addition, judges must investigate the circumstances of all residents in order to assess the impact that an eviction will have on them. >>Read the full press statement here.
- Winnie Mandela residents challenge housing fraud in Tembisa (22 May 2017). One hundred and thirty-three residents of the Winnie Mandela informal settlement challenged the Ekurhuleni Municipality’s failure to given them possession of housing constructed with their subsidies.The residents live in shacks at the Winnie Mandela informal settlement in Tembisa. Each of the applicants had applied for, and been allocated, a state-subsidised house in the adjacent Winnie Mandela Park township. Each of the residents’ subsidies was then used to develop a specific stand on a specific site in Winnie Mandela Park. But these stands were not given to the residents. They were occupied by other people. >>Read the full media alert here.
- Inner city residents victorious in resisting eviction (19 May 2017). The Johannesburg High Court today set aside an eviction order granted against 84 men, women and children living at 8 O’Reilly Street, Hillbrow in Johannesburg’s inner city. The Court held that the eviction order should not have been made without the City of Johannesburg (“the City”) being part of the proceedings. The City is obliged to ensure that the eviction of the community would not result in homelessness. >>Read the full press statement here.
- Launch of new video emphasises lack of justice for Marikana (20 March 2017). At 9h30 on Human Rights Day, 21 March 2017, families of the mineworkers killed at Marikana, mineworkers and members of the Slovo Park Community Development Forum (SPCDF), with the support of the Marikana Support Campaign, gathered in Slovo Park to commemorate the Sharpeville and Marikana massacres. The event will included the launch of a new SERI short film, Bringing the Truth Home, and started a week-long campaign to raise awareness about the slow progress of the state and Lonmin in ensuring that there is justice for the victims of Marikana. >>Read the full media alert here.
- SERI and SAITF launch new resource guide for informal traders (20 March 2017). On Wednesday 22 March 2017 SERI, in partnership with the South African Informal Traders Forum (SAITF), launched a new resource guide for informal traders in Johannesburg. The launch took place at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature. Informal Trade in Johannesburg: Your Rights is a resource guide for informal traders making a living in Johannesburg which spells out what their rights are, and what avenues are available to ensure those rights are protected. >>Read the full media alert here.
- 60 000 informal settlement occupiers resist eviction in the High Court (7 February 2017). SERI appeared in the Western Cape High Court between 8 February 2017 and 15 February 2017, representing the approximately 60 000 occupiers of the Marikana informal settlement, located in Phillipi on the Cape Flats. The occupiers argued that there is no humane and dignified manner in which a settlement of that size could be evicted or relocated. They asked the court to grant an order requiring the City of Cape Town to consider the expropriation of the land. >>Read the full media alert here.
For a full archive of all SERI press statements from 2010 to 2016 see here.