On 1 December GroundUp published an article entitled "Eviction by the back door" detailing the current spate of interdicts being sought by municipalities and provincial government against informal occupiers, including at the Marikana settlement in Philippi in Cape Town. SERI represents occupiers in the Fischer case, which is referred to in the article. On 27 November the Western Cape High Court handed down an order protecting the original residents of the settlement from being removed, while interdicting newcomers from erecting further shacks.
According to a resident of the settlement, "We welcome this, because now we do not have to fear anymore. The evictions were very painful to the community, and many of us lost our furniture and building material, so this is a relief."
SERI's executive director Stuart Wilson has published a thought-provoking op-ed in the Daily Maverick on the implications of the Marikana massacre on some key features of the post-apartheid political settlement.
"Marikana is a warning. If South Africa continues along its current economic path, then dissent against, rather than participation in, current political and social arrangements will only become more frequent. If the response to that dissent is violent political repression, then Marikana may not be the last we see of state-sponsored killing at scale. Both our attitude to inequality, and our attitude to dissent, have to change."
From 13 to 16 November SERI attended a symposium hosted by New York Law School on Twenty Years of South African Constitutionalism: Constitutional Rights, Judicial Independence and the Transition to Democracy. Participants at the event included constitutional law experts, law and society scholars, legal educators and public interest lawyers. Topic dicussed included public interest law, education and children’s rights, environmental rights and water rights, equality and affirmative action, law and political struggle, legal education and social change, gay and lesbian rights, gender equality and gender violence, traditional governance, prisoners’ rights, and housing and land.
SERI senior researcher Jackie Dugard presented a paper on direct access to the Constitutional Court for a panel on The Constitution and Access to Justice. SERI staff members Stuart Wilson, Tashwill Esterhuizen and Mbekezeli Benjamin presented three papers on a panel on New Frontiers in Social Rights: The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa. These papers can be downloaded below:
On Tuesday 11 November 2014 the families of 36 of the deceased miners killed at Marikana in August 2012 will deliver closing arguments before the Marikana Commission of Inquiry. Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC, instructed by SERI, will argue on behalf of the families.
It has been a long and painful journey for the families. They have attended the Commission for two years in order to discover the truth about what happened to their loved ones, and why. They have come to a number of conclusions about what happened between 13 and 16 August 2012, and who bears responsibility for the massacre that occurred.
In October 2014 final heads of argument and submissions were filed before the Marikana Commission of Inquiry. In November replying submissions and heads of argument were filed.
These arguments and submissions will be heard at the Commission between 5 and 14 November 2014. The families of the deceased and AMCU will be presenting their closing arguments on 11 November 2014.
Heads of argument, written submissions and replying submissions filed in the Marikana Commission of Inquiry: