SERI's senior researcher, Tim Fish Hodgson, has written a piece in Huffington Post SA on the Fischer case in which the eviction of 60 000 residents of the Marikana informal settlement on the Cape Flats is sought.
The residents are arguing that the state should consider the expropriation of the land upon which they are currently living. In their court papers the City of Cape Town has failed to take this suggestion seriously. The residents will argue that an expropriation would properly balance the owners' property rights and poor people's rights to access to adequate housing. The owners will get compensation for the land that they will lose and residents will no longer have to live in fear of eviction. The City would also then be able to fulfill its constitutional obligation to provide the residents with access to elecricity, water, sanitation and waste removal services.
The hearings for the case begin today in the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town and will continue until 14 February, coinciding with President Zuma's State of the Nation address in Parliament on Thursday. The op-ed questions the relative importance placed on the President's address and the residents' hearing and suggests that the City of Cape Town, like the President, should act decisively in the fulfilment of its constitutional obligations and provide necessary leadership and direction in this matter.