- SERI conducts inner city housing workshop in Yeoville, 24 August 2013. SERI hosted a workshop for over 100 residents living in four inner city buildings provided by the City of Johannesburg following the Olivia Road and Blue Moonlight Constitutional Court judgments. Residents from MBV 1 and Old Perm (managed by the City), Ekuthuleni shelter (managed by MES) and MBV 2 (managed by JOSHCO) attended the workshop, which provided an overview of the current litigation and facilitated a discussion on current challenges in the buildings and strategies to deal with them moving forward. It was decided that a joint commitee comprising representatives from all the buildings will be elected to take various aspects of the workshop forward. See photos of the workshop here.
- SERI facilitated a paralegal training workshop with Abahlali baseMjondolo in Cape Town, 27-28 July 2013. On 27 July 2013, SERI conducted a paralegal training workshop for the Cape Town based members of Abahlali baseMjondolo. The workshop was held at Sweet Home Farm informal settlement and attended by approximately 30 people. It covered the following topics: Housing Act and evictions, Schools Act and Regulations, IDP and informal settlement upgrading, and the Gatherings Act.
SERI conducts "Deepening Democracy" workshop in Mahikeng, 18-19 May 2013. On 18 and 19 May, SERI candidate attorney Princess Magopane and SERI social researcher Thapelo Tselapedi organised and facilitated a ward-based workshop in Mahikeng, North West. Under the theme "Deepening Democracy" the workshop focused on the concept of meaningful engagement and explored the different roles and functions of provincial and local authorities in relation to water, electricity, housing and sanitation. 26 participants attended the workshop, which sought to explore how communities can engage with relevant local and provincial authorities about their specific needs. The workshop was covered by Koketso Moeti, the social media manager of Local Government Action (LGA) which is a loose affiliation of NGOs in South Africa. See photos of the workshop here.
- SERI conducts paralegal training workshop for Abahlali leaders in Durban, 23-24 March 2013. On 23 March 2013, SERI conducted a paralegal training workshop with leaders from the Abahlali baseMjondolo movement in Durban. Topics covered included: legislative and policy framework for temporary housing in South Africa; criminalisation of activists during protests; the Social Relief of Distress (SROD) grant and the Gatherings Act. On 24 March 2013, SERI attended Abahlali's meeting on political education, where presentations were made on Abahlalism and human dignity; Abahlali structures; media communication and the Land Summit.
SERI and Planact facilitate training workshop for Gauteng Land and Housing Social Network (GLHSN), November 2012. From 31 October-2 November 2012, a 3-day workshop was held for GLHSN members on topics including housing policy, access to information, social media, using the law and the right to protest.
- SERI, Planact and Local Government Action host Democracy in Practice workshop in Rooigrond, Mahikeng, 1-2 September 2012. From 1-2 September 2012, a workshop was held in Rooigrond, Mahikeng, for representatives of surrounding communities and settlements in Mahikeng, North West. The focus on the Democracy in Practice workshop was on local government, and the Making Government Work: An Activist's Guide was used as reference material for participants. Topics included: powers and functions of local government; enforcing transparency and accountability on (socio-economic) rights; IDP and budgetary processes; and discussions on dolomite and human habitation. See photos of the workshop here.
- SERI and AbM paralegal training workshop in Durban, 18 February 2012. Osmond Mngomezulu and Teboho Mosikili facilitated a paralegal training workshop for AbM community leaders at the Diakonia Centre in Durban on 18 February 2012. The workshop covered the role of paralegals/overview of the South African legal system;the Housing Act, national housing programmes and relevant jurisprudence and cases; IDP and informal settlement upgrading (ISU) processes; introduction to the local government activists guide; and evictions.
- Making Local Government Work: An Activist's Guide (August 2011). This guide for activists - developed by SERI, SECTION27and Read Hope Phillips Attorneys - sets out the legal responsibilities of local government in South Africa and rights under the Constitution and in law. It shows how to engage government from inside, by participating in formal processes, and from outside by going public through complaints, petitions, protest action, the media and the courts. The guide can be downloaded here. See www.localgovernmentaction.org for more on the guide.
SERI and Planact hold workshop in Spring Valley Informal Settlement in Emalahleni, 13 August 2011. On 13 August 2011, SERI and Planact held a one day workshop at the Spring Valley informal settlement in Emalahleni (Witbank) in Mpumalanga. The workshop covered a number of topics relevant to members of the steering committee who attended, including the PIE Act and ESTA, resisting evictions, housing policy and programmes, PAJA, organising a march and requesting access to information through PAIA.
Workshop with community leaders from Unemployed People's Movement (UPM), 22-23 July 2011. SERI held a 2-day workshop in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape with members of the Unemployed People's Movement (UPM) from Port Elizabeth, East London and Grahamstown. The workshop covered various topics including housing policy and programmes, social assistance, access to information, just administrative action, understanding local government, organising a protest etc.
- SERI and Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) paralegal training workshops, 11 June and 24-25 June 2011. SERI and AbM held a series of paralegal trainining workshops with community leaders, covering a range of topics. The first of these workshops on "Law and legal process" was held in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal on 11 June 2011. The workshop programme is available here. The final two workshops were held on 24 and 25 June 2011.
- SERI and Planact social movement/community leadership workshop, 11-13 March 2011. SERI and Planact co-organised a 3-day workshop for social movement and community leaders. Over 60 representatives attended from organisations including Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM), Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF), Coalition Against Water Privatisation (CAWP), Informal Settlement Network (ISN), Landless People's Movement (LPM), Soweto Bureau for Sustainable Settlements, Thembalihle Crisis Committee, Shoshanguve Concerned Residents, and other communities around Gauteng. Session topics included the following: freedom of expression/right to protest; using the media; human settlements policy, programmes and practice; understanding and resisting evictions; introduction to local government; access to information; property law; access to justice; municipal land use planning and informal settlement upgrading. See the programme here and workshop report here.
- SERI research cited in major Kenyan housing rights decision, 4 March 2011. The High Court in Kenya has relied upon the work of Stuart Wilson, SERI’s director of litigation, in granting a conservatory order preventing the eviction of thousands of informal settlers in Nairobi. In granting the order, Mr. Justice Musinga held that “Eviction should not result in individuals being rendered homeless or vulnerable to the violation of other human rights. Where those affected are unable to provide for themselves, the State party must take all reasonable measures, to the maximum of its available resources, to ensure that adequate alternative housing, resettlement or access to productive land, as the case may be is available.” The Judge also urged the Kenyan government to adopt a comprehensive housing policy which includes measure to provide interim relief for desperately poor people facing eviction. Judge Musinga acknowledged the scholarly work of Stuart Wilson in his article “Breaking the Tie: Evictions, Homelessness and the New Normality”, upon which he relied in preparing his judgment.
- Law and Organising workshop at Khanya College. On 2-3 August 2010, SERI co-facilitated a skills workshop called Law and Organising at Khanya College's 'Crisis and Resistance' Winter School. Community and social movement activists from around South Africa attended the workshop which covered: the current political context and limitations of the law; evictions and resistance; the right to protest and the Regulation of Gatherings Act ; basic criminal procedure including arrest, bail and laying complaints the police (for information on protest and criminal procedure see The right to protest: a handbook for protestors and police by FXI); access to information and how to use PAIA (see SAHA's PAIA Resource Kit); as well as summarising the legal framework and rights around education, basic services, health, social assistance, PAJA, Municipal Systems Act etc.
- Engaging meaningfully with government in the realisation of socio-economic rights in South Africa: A focus on the right to housing (March 2010). Lilian Chenwi from the Community Law Centre (CLC), based at the University of the Western Cape, and Kate Tissington from SERI co-authored a ‘know your rights’ booklet which is available in English and Xhosa.