• Constitutional Court holds Minister of Police liable for rape by off-duty police officer, 15 December 2011. In F v Minister of Safety and Security, SERI represented the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in their amicus curiae application. The Constitutional Court declared that the Minister of Police may be liable for criminal acts committed by off-duty police officers, holding that, even though the police officer concerned was off duty, he was able to gain trust because he was a police officer and was using a police vehicle. These factors, closely associated with his appointment as a police officer, made it possible for the police officer to commit the rape. Read more here.
  • uMngeni Municipality ordered to provide housing to residents of Tumbleweed informal settlement, 12 December 2011. The Pietermaritzburg High Court ordered uMngeni Municipality to provide land, water, sanitation and temporary housing to 47 families living in the Tumbleweed informal settlement near Howick, KwaZulu-Natal. The order was granted by agreement between the residents and the municipality, with the assistance of SERI and Abahlali baseMjondolo. Read more here.
  • Constitutional Court declares Bapsfontein forced removal unlawful, 6 December 2011. In the Pheko case, in which SERI was admitted as amicus curiae, the Constitutional Court has ruled that Ekurhuleni Municipality’s removal of thousands of people from the Bapsfontein informal settlement was unlawful. The Court also ordered the municipalityto provide land to the evictees “within the immediate vicinity of Bapsfontein”. Read more here.
  • Constitutional Court declares City of Johannesburg’s housing policy unconstitutional, 1 December 2011. In the Blue Moonlight eviction case, the Constitutional Court declared the City of Johannesburg’s housing policy unconstitutional and ordered the City to provide temporary accommodation to 86 desperately poor people living in Berea in inner city Johannesburg. The Court was ruling on the application of Blue Moonlight Properties to evict the occupiers from its property. Read the SERI and CALS press release here and more on the case here.
  • Government must promote the supremacy of the Constitution and the independence of the judiciary, 1 December 2011. SERI together with a number of NGOs and social movements in South Africa have released a joint statement questioning some of the worrying aspects of a recent Cabinet statement calling for an assessment of the judicial system. The statement inter alia calls on Cabinet to clarify its statement and to provide detail as to why an assessment of the Constitutional Court's decisions is now required. Read the joint statement here.
  • Constitutional Court to decide on Minister's liability for police violence, 2 August 2011. The Institute for Security Studies (ISS), represented by SERI Law Clinic, was admitted as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the case of HRF v Minister of Safety and Security. The case was heard by the Constitutional Court on 4 August 2011. Read the ISS and SERI press release here and more on the case here.
  • "Kennedy 12" acquitted, 18 July 2011. Twelve members of Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) were prosecuted in the aftermath of the attacks on AbM members residing in the Kennedy Road Informal Settlement in Durban in September 2009. On 18 July 2011, all 12 members were acquitted of all criminal charges in the Durban Regional Court. Read SERI's media release here.
  • Illegally evicted occupiers return to their homes, 7 July 2011. SERI assisted several hundred people return to their homes after they were illegally evicted from a building on corner Kruis and Salisbury streets in Johannesburg’s CBD. The residents had been evicted without a court order by the City of Johannesburg’s Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) and fire brigade officials. An urgent hearing was held at the Johannesburg High Court and the occupiers returned to their homes at midnight. Read the SERI press release here.
  • Court declares housing emergency in Johannesburg informal settlement, 19 April 2011. In the Rand Leases case, the Johannesburg High Court declared 200 people living next to a Pikitup waste dump near Roodepoort to be in an emergency housing situation. Judge Victor ordered the City to provide water and sanitation to the Marie Louise informal settlement community by 13 May 2011, and improved shelter by 15 July 2011. Read the SERI statement here.
  • Constitutional Court rules against arbitrary sales of homes , 11 April 2011. The Constitutional Court in the Gundwana case has declared Rule 31 (5) of the Uniform Rules of Court constitutionally invalid to the extent that it permits a High Court registrar to authorise the sale of a person’s home. The judgment means that banks that wish to execute on mortgage bonds must approach a Judge and show why the sale of a person’s home would be justifiable in all the circumstances of a particular case. The judgment is important as it will ensure more fairness in the bond execution process. Read the press release here.
  • Supreme Court upholds the rights of the urban poor in Blue Moonlight judgment, 30 March 2011. In a landmark judgment the SCA has declared the City of Johannesburg's housing policy irrational, discriminatory and unconstitutional, and directed the City to provide temporary emergency accommodation to approximately 100 desperately poor peopleliving in derelict buildings in Berea, Johannesburg by 1 June 2011. The occupiers stand to be evicted by the owner of the property, and would be rendered homeless without assistance from the City. Read the SERI statement here.
  • Statement on municipal billing chaos in the City of Johannesburg, 24 January 2011. SERI issues statement regarding the billing chaos within the City of Johannesburg, following problems with the implementation of its Project Phakama system, and calls for the City to refrain from disconnecting water and electricity services until it has verified all municipal bills. Read the SERI statement here.
  • Full bench of the High Court reverses unlawful eviction in Chung Hua case, 3 December 2010. A full bench of the Johannesburg High Court reversed the unlawful eviction of over 253 desperately poor people from Chung Hua Mansions, a building in Jeppe Street in inner city Johannesburg. The three judges further held the owner, private security company and the Station Commander of Johannesburg Central Police Station in contempt of court. Read the SERI press release here.
  • Legal NGOs respond to recent statements by the Minister of Human Settlements, 2 December 2010. A joint statement endorsed by SERI, SECTION27, Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), Legal Resources Centre (LRC), Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) and Community Law Centre (CLC), was issued in response to various statements made by the Minister about the role of courts and civil society in human rights/social justice struggles. Read the statement here.
  • Johannesburg High Court orders Eskom to reconnect electricity supply to Chiawelo Flats, 10 September 2010. Following the illegal disconnection of electricty to 420 flats in Chiawelo, Soweto, the SERI Law Clinic approached the Johannesburg High Court on an urgent basis. The court ordered that Eskom must reconnect the electricity to the flats. Read the SERI media release here.
  • Court orders City of Johannesburg and JMPD to reconstruct the homes of unlawfully evicted residents in Kliptown, Soweto, 8 July 2010. Following the filing of an urgent application in the Johannesburg High Court by SERI on 30 June 2010, the court directed that the 8 residents unlawfully evicted from their homes in Freedom Charter informal settlement, Kliptown be provided with shelter on the same site they had previously occupied at the City’s cost. Read the SERI media release here.

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