SERI represents 30 market traders trading near the Mogwase Shopping Complex in Mogwase in the North West.

Transnet approached the High Court in Mafikeng seeking an order to evict the market traders alleging that they are trading on land currently owned by the Republic of South Africa which will soon be transferred and registered in its name.

SERI filed the answering affidavit on behalf of the 30 market traders. SERI argued that the property where the market traders trade does not belong to Transnet. SERI submitted that Transnet as an organ of state is bound to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the right to dignity and the right to trade of the market traders. Finally, SERI argued that the market traders have been trading on the property since 2000 despite Transnet alleging that it first became aware of the market traders in 2015.

Read more about the case here.

Daiyaan

SERI is delighted to welcome Daiyaan Halim to our team as a research intern. Daiyaan holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Politics and Law and Bachelor of Law (LLB) from the University of Johannesburg, and has practised as a litigation and intellectual property attorney. He has participated in local government politics and hopes to contribute to more pragmatic policy in this sphere through his work at SERI.

He is currently completing his Masters in Law (LLM) in International Law and Economics at the University of the Witwatersrand where he is exploring the relationship between socio-economic rights and human capital within developing economies. 

We look forward to his contribution to SERI's work. 

During his reply to the state of the nation address debate in Parliament on Tuesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the state was committed to compensating the families of the striking miners who were killed by police on 13 and 16 August 2012 during the Marikana massacre. In August 2012, these workers, with thousands of others, were on strike demanding a living wage when they were killed after police opened fire on them.

Talking from the podium, Ramaphosa said: “We must be prepared‚ as government‚ that where we have failed our people‚ where we have made mistakes‚ we will take steps to correct those mistakes. One of such was the Marikana tragedy which stands out as the darkest moment in the life our young democracy.” He promised that he was personally “determined to play whatever role [he could] in the process of healing and atonement for what happened at Marikana.” 

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI), that represents the 36 families of the striking miners who were killed at Marikana (along with the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) and the Wits Law Clinic), welcomes Ramaphosa’s comments and hopes that his promises will lead to action on the part of the state.

If the state is serious about atoning for the Marikana massacre, the families of those killed at Marikana have indicated that a meaningful response will include:

  • A formal and sincere apology to the families of those killed from the Minister of Police for the loss of their loved ones
  • The state has to approach the issue of compensation with an attitude that acknowledges the state’s culpability in the massacre
  • The state must ensure that the police officers responsible for the murder of the mine workers are criminally charged and prosecuted for their actions

If the state takes these steps it will bring much needed closure to the families who feel that they have been abandoned by the South African government.

  • Read the full statement here
  • Read more about the Marikana families’ damages claim against the SAPS here.
  • Read the presentations made by the families of the deceased miners before the Marikana Commission of Inquiry here.

Ahead of Minister Malusi Gigaba's budget speech on 21 February 2018, a broad collective of socio-economic rights organisations have developed an example of what South Africa's national budget could look like if it takes the needs and concerns of ordinary South Africans seriously. SERI contributed to this alternative, people-centred budget.

Minister Gigaba’s budget speech should allocate funds in such a way as to ensure that South Africa's chronic poverty and inequality are alleviated, and that effect is given to the rights of the most vulnerable. It is in this light that South African civil society has collaborated to draft an alternative "Human Rights Budget" for 2018, which sets out what a budget that takes the rights of ordinary people seriously would look like. The Human Rights Budget for 2018 draws on South Africa's existing trends in budgeting and makes strong recommendations about where funds should be allocated in order to give effect to the fundamental human rights enshrined in the South African Constitution. 

The civil society organisations that contributed to the human rights budget include SERI, Equal Education (EE), the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), the Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM), the Rural Health Advocacy Project (RHAP), Section 27, the Social Justice Coalition (SJC), the Studies on Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII) and Philippi Horticultural Area.

 

 


WEIGO 2From 13 to 15 February 2018, SERI participated in a workshop hosted by the Women in Informal Employment Globalising and Organising (WIEGO) on the use of the law to protect and strengthen the rights of informal workers in South Africa. The workshop, entitled “WIEGO Law School: Using South Africa’s Administrative Law to Protect the Rights of Informal Workers”, focused on informal traders and waste pickers.

The workshop brought together the leadership and members of informal worker organisations from across South Africa to reflect on the challenges facing informal workers and come to grips with laws and policies governing informal work in South Africa. The workshop focused on the role that administrative law can play in protecting the rights of informal traders and waste pickers. Administrative law is the field of law that regulates the exercise of public power or the performance of public functions. This branch of law therefore governs virtually all government decisions that affect informal traders or waste pickers, including decisions to grant, suspend, revoke of withhold a trading license or permit, decisions to impose any conditions or restrictions on a trading license of permit, decisions to impound informal traders’ goods, or decisions to relocate or evict informal traders from their stalls.

The workshop included a panel discussion with various public interest law organisations, who spoke about the importance of legal protections and how their organisations can support informal workers in theri legal struggles. SERI executive director, Stuart Wilson, was part of the panel. 

WEIGO WorkshopThe workshop compliments SERI oingoing work on informal trade. Recognising the crucial role that local government plays on developing and implementing a supportive and enabling regulatory environment for informal traders, SERI has partnered with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) in an effort to provide assistance to municipalities throughout the country by helping municipalities to understand their legal and constitutional obligations in formulating and implementing by-laws and policies that govern informal trade in their municipal areas. SERI is in the process of developing a set of recommendations to assist municipalities to formulate, update or implement by-laws and policies that are in line with informal traders' constitutional rights and the law. These recommendations and a review of the case law related to informal trade will be published later this year. 

  • Read more about SERI's research on informal trade here.
  • Read more about SERI's litigation work on informal trade and vulnerable workers here.

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