The mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, this weekend suggested that human rights lawyers are responsible for the living conditions in Johannesburg's inner city, and that human rights lawyers are "being paid from proceeds of human & drug trafficking."

SERI's Stuart Wilson has responded to the allegations in an interview with HuffPost South Africa.

  • Watch the interview here.

The Johannesburg High Court today set aside an eviction order granted against 84 men, women and children living at 8 O’Reilly Street, Hillbrow in Johannesburg’s inner city. The Court held that the eviction order should not have been made without the City of Johannesburg (“the City”) being part of the proceedings. The City is obliged to ensure that the eviction of the community would not result in homelessness.

The High Court was considering the residents’ appeal against an order evicting them from their homes made by Justice Victor in 2014. The residents attended court in person to oppose the eviction, and said in their affidavits that the City should be joined to the proceedings to help resolve the eviction case. Justice Victor held that the residents had failed to specify what role the City should play in the case. Justice Victor refused to join the City, and evicted the residents.

On appeal, Justice Francis, with whom Justice Nicholls and Justice Makhanya agreed, held that Justice Victor erred in failing to join the City to the proceedings, because there were indications on the papers submitted by the property owner that the eviction might trigger the City’s obligations to provide temporary shelter to the residents. That being so, Justice Victor should have joined the City and ordered it to submit a report setting out the steps it would take to stop the residents from becoming homeless on eviction. Justice Francis upheld the residents’ appeal, set aside the eviction order, joined the City to the proceedings and directed it to file a report on the occupiers and their circumstances within 30 days.

  • Read the full press statement here.
  • Read the judgment here.
  • Read more about the case here.

SERI's Dennis Webster will today participate on a round table at the Experimenting / Experiencing the City dialogue taking place this week at Wits University. The round table will focus on street trading, and consider what the “just” governance of street trading might look like in Johannesburg.

  • Download the full programme here.

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SERI today argued the opposition of the eviction of four artisinal miners in Kimberly. The miners were successful, and the municipality has been ordered to file a report on the available alternatives.

  • Read more about the case here.

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In the wake of mayor Herman Mashaba's first State of the City address, Dennis Webster and Alana Potter have argued in the Business Day that it is vital to closely monitor how Johannesburg's new and heavily contested coallition government will play out in the lives of the city’s residents, especially the poor.

They suggest that Mashaba's avowed 'pro-poor' approach "is muddled by a bias towards the formal sector and attracting private investment to the city" and that if his administration "pursues enforcement over regulatory reform and effective urban management, and ad hoc cures instead of proactive measures, it runs the risk of forgetting the "forgotten people" to whom he dedicated his inaugural address."

  • Read the full op-ed here.

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