eviction - Tumbleweed - KwaZulu-Natal - Interim Protection of Informal Land Rights Act
In this matter, SERI and Trudie Nichols Attorneys in Durban act for the 47 families living on ERF 2756, Tumbleweed. Tumbleweed is a township overlooking the Midmar dam in the Natal Midlands, KwaZulu-Natal. The municipality wanted to evict the community living on the property, claiming that they are land invaders. The community says that it was given permission to reside on the property by the Chief of the Amambuzane Tribe, which owns the property through a Trust. Accordingly, they are holders of informal rights to land in terms of the Interim Protection of Informal Land Rights Act 31 of 1996. This means that they cannot be removed from the property without their consent or an expropriation of their rights.
The community also argues that their eviction would not be just and equitable. They say this because the municipality has not engaged meaningfully with them prior to making its application. They also say that the land the municipality has identified for their relocation is already occupied and does not comply with the minimum standards for the provision of alternative accommodation set out in law.
On 12 December 2011, the Pietermaritzburg High Court ordered uMngeni Municipality to provide land, water, sanitation and temporary housing to the 47 families living in the Tumbleweed informal settlement. The order was granted by agreement between the residents and the municipality. The residents were be provided land, shelter and services by 22 December 2011, with a target date of 6 January 2012 for their relocation. The deal was negotiated after the Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement of South Africa and SERI stepped in to represent the residents.
Since the order was made, the MEC for Housing has indicated that, instead of temporary housing, the occupiers will be given permanent housing in a new housing development. SERI is engaging with uMngeni Municipality to agree a timetable for the provision of those houses.