On Tuesday, 11 August 2020, SERI, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the Cities Support Programme launched SERI's latest policy brief focusing on adequate temporary alternative accommodation.
Over 25 years since the advent of democracy in 1994, South Africa remains a country where extreme wealth exists alongside widespread poverty. This inequality is borne disproportionately by black people. It is as a result of South Africa’s historical legacy and current exclusion from the housing market that the state has an obligation to provide alternative accommodation to occupiers who would become homeless if they are evicted. Now more than ever, as residents of inner city buildings and informal settlements experience the magnitude of the COVID-19 global pandemic, we are facing the consequences of inequality.
The law requires that municipalities provide temporary alternative accommodation when evictions lead to homelessness. However, municipalities have been slow to develop proactive alternative accommodation programmes in response to the case law. The accommodation that has been provided, generally compelled by court orders, is insufficient. Management of temporary alternative accommodation has been inadequate and certain models, such as the managed care model, are constitutionally offensive. In addition, the courts have not given content to what constitutes adequate temporary alternative accommodation. This policy brief aims to fill the gap by reviewing evictions law and its implications for municipalities, setting out a proposed approach to municipal provision of alternative accommodation and discussing the need for a national framework.
The webinar reflected on experiences and lessons from current alternative accommodation sites and considered a proposed approach to municipal provision of alternative accommodation.