- 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.