Relocations have the potential to severely disrupt peoples’ lives and negatively impact their livelihoods, community relations and sense of security. This was the experience of Eerste Fabriek informal settlement residents in Mamelodi who were affected by recent floods in Tshwane.
Nomzamo Zondo recently joined Thabo Mdluli of Newzroom Afrika to explain what went wrong in this instance and measures that municipalities can take to avoid a similar situation in future, including the upgrading of informal settlements. As a general principle, evictions or relocations should not be pursued by default. Various South African laws and policies create a strong preference for allowing occupiers to remain on the land or in the building that they occupy. These laws and policies provide that relocations should only be carried out as a last resort once other alternatives have been exhausted.
SERI has developed a set of legal and practical guidelines to assist those involved in the relocation process to navigate the complexities involved in planning for and carrying out a relocation. 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.