On 4 July 2018, SERI researcher, Kelebogile Khunou, was interviewed on John Maytham's Afternoon Drive show on Cape Talk radio, where she discussed the City of Johannesburg's new recycling plans and how these plans are likely to side-line and threaten the livelihoods of waste reclaimers. 

Over 10,000 people make a living as waste reclaimers or informal recyclers in Johannesburg. However, the City of Johannesburg's new separation at source initiative may hamper this vulnerable group's ability to earn a living.

During the interview, Khunou noted that while Johannesburg's separation at source initiative seems, on the face of it, to be a good idea "the way the City is going about it, threatens the livelihoods of thousands of people who have actually been providing Johannesburg residents with recycling services for decades." She highlighted a recent survey conducted by Women in Informal Employment Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), which found that waste reclaimers have lost about 60% of their incomes since the introduction of the City's separation at Source programme.

Khunou also address the stigma many waste reclaimers face and said that we have to recognise the value of waste relcaimers' work. As she noted: 

"Without a separation at source programme or anything similar, South Africa has been able to collect recyclables at a rate of 57% which is among the highest in the world. Our rates surpass countries like Brazil and India and fall just behind Europe and the US. And the peope who have developed the recycling industry in South Africa are the very same people that people regard as 'criminals' and a 'blight' on our cities."


The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) invite you to the launch of:

Informal Trade in South Africa: Legislation, Case Law and Recommendations for Local Government


Towards Recommendations on the Regulation of Informal Trade at Local Government Level

How can cities support and nurture informal trade?
What does the law say about local government’s duties towards informal traders?

SERI SALGA Launch imageIn 2017, over 2.6 million South Africans reported working in the informal sector. Of these people, approximately 1.1 million or 41% are in informal trade. Informal trade therefore makes up a significant component of the economy and has an important role to play in addressing some of South Africa’s most pervasive development challenges, including high levels of unemployment and poverty. It is for this reason that national government has acknowledged that informal trade is given room to develop and flourish. However, informal traders are still hindered by restrictive informal trade regulations and ongoing harassment from law enforcement officials. This is why SERI, in collaboration with SALGA, have developed these two research publications.

With knowledge of the law, local government can alter their approach to informal trade by supporting and nurturing this essential sector informal trading sector while also boosting economic growth.

The launch will include a panel discussion between researchers, activists, lawyers and specialists in economic development.

Who:     Caroline Skinner (senior researcher at the African Centre for Cities (ACC)), Nomzamo Zondo (SERI director of litigation), Brain Phaaloh (General Secretary of the South African Informal Traders Forum (SAITF)), Charles Parkerson (SALGA director of economic development) and Michael Clark (SERI senior research associate).

When:   6 July 2018, 9h30 to 11h30.

Where:  SERI, 6th Floor, Aspern House, 54 De Korte Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

RSVP:   Tiffany Ebrahim at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 011 356 5887 by Thursday 5 July 2018.

  • Download the invitation here.

Sanco 1 web

On Sunday, 24 June 2018, SERI was invited by the South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) to give a presentation on housing and evictions law to the organisation’s branch HODs of Housing. The workshop forms part of SANCO’s strategic vision and programme to prevent evictions in the City of Johannesburg.

SERI presented on resisting evictions and legal principles contained in the Constitution. The presentation provided participants with insight on how to use the Constitution and legislation such as the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act ("PIE Act") to challenge illegal evictions. The presentation was offered by SERI research and advocacy officer, Edward Molopi.

Ed Morning Live


On Monday, SERI research and advocacy officer, Edward Molopi joined SABC's Morning Live to discuss Gauteng Province’s intentions to expropriate unused privately owned land without compensation. This follows last month's African National Congress Land Summit where national and provincial governments were urged to test section 25 of the constitution in its current form and go ahead with the expropriation of land without compensation. Molopi discusses the possibility of expropriating land within the current legislative framework, using expropriation for redistributive purposes and explains why a Constitutional ammendment may be premature. 

Earlier this year, SERI made a submission to the Joint Committee on Constitutional Review in Parliament, which has been tasked with reviewing section 25 of the Constitution (the property clause). SERI’s submission considers expropriation as a policy tool for the implementation of land reform and highlights the potential that it has to assist the state in unlocking speculatively held or abandoned land. It further argues that expropriation can enable the state to acquire vacant land and buildings which could then be used for the provision of permanent housing. 

  • Watch the full interview here.
  • Read SERI's submission to Parliament here.



On June 16 South Africa commemorates Youth Day in honour of the youth of 1976 who were shot and killed by apartheid police during protest. In this op-ed SERI's Maanda Makwarela and Alana Potter reflect on the this tragic chapter in our history and how it mirrors events that took place in Marikana where 34 miners were shot and killed while protesting to demand a living wage and better working conditions.

In the article they argue that "in Marikana, Sharpeville and Soweto, the state failed to recognise the rights and humanity of protesters and then refused to be held accountable for the harm it had caused. In the aftermath of Sharpeville in 1960 and in 1976, the state hunted down protesters and political leaders and deepened its resolve to eradicate dissent.

In the aftermath of Marikana, the state labelled 250 protesters as “criminals” and promptly arrested them. Not a single police officer was arrested or charged. In its failure to take responsibility for its own actions in Marikana, the post-apartheid government was barely distinguishable from its predecessors."

  • Read the full article 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.

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