eviction - informal settlement - Kliptown - City of Johannesburg - JMPD - South Gauteng High Court
On 28 June 2010, the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) told a number of residents of the Freedom Charter informal settlement, Kliptown that they had to leave their homes because they were unlawful occupiers. The residents denied this. They said that they resided on the property for several years with the permission of the City of Johannesburg pending the upgrade of the informal settlement – an upgrade from which they were supposed to benefit. In response the JMPD evicted the residents and the families onto the streets. The evictions took place without a court order, which is a flagrant violation of section 26(3) of the Constitution.
SERI filed an urgent application in the South Gauteng High Court on Wednesday 30 June on behalf of the Kliptown residents. The application sought an order compelling the municipality to restore the residents’ possession of the land they had occupied, and to rebuild the residents’ homes. On 8 July 2010, the court ordered the City of Johannesburg and the JMPD to reconstruct the homes of 8 people whom had been unlawfully evicted. The court directed that the evicted residents be provided with “habitable dwellings that afford [the residents] with shelter, privacy and amenities at least equivalent to those which were destroyed”. According to the order, these dwellings must be constructed on the same site as the residents’ previous homes, by 22 July 2010, at the City’s cost. In the meantime, the residents have been allowed to reconstruct temporary shelters on the sites.