On 5 May 2014, residents of the Ekuthuleni shelter - who were moved as part of the Blue Moonlight Constitutional Court case - filed their heads of argument in Dladla case against the City of Johannesburg. The case seeks to challenge the rules and conditions in the shelter, which is run by Metro Evangelical Services (MES), an NGO operating in inner city Johannesburg.
The shelter is subject to various draconian house rules which the residents argue infringe their constitutional rights to dignity, privacy, freedom and security of the person, equality and access to adequate housing. The rules include day-time lock-out, which means residents are not allowed to stay in the shelter during the day; and gender segregated dorms, which have the effect of splitting up family units. The residents are also challenging the City’s claim that it is entitled to evict them without a court order. This, the residents argue, is contrary to section 26(3) of the Constitution, which prohibits evictions without a court order.
The Dladla case is important in that it may clarify a number of crucial legal questions, including whether alternative accommodation provided to prevent homelessness due to an eviction constitutes a home for purposes of constitutional right of access to adequate housing, and whether the managed care shelter model advocated by the City is constitutionally appropriate.
The case will most likely be argued in the South Gauteng High Court in September 2014.