SERI candidate attorney Martin Mosweu has discussed the recently issued civil claims of over 1600 informal traders stemming from the injuries and losses they suffered during Operation Clean Sweep on Wits Radio Academy.
SERI's executive director, Stuart Wilson, and director of litigation, Nomzamo Zondo, have written in today's Business Day on some of the lessons emerging from the #FeesMustFall protests, and the ways in which university management and the police have responded to them.
Drawing on SERI's work protecting the rights of protestors, and specifically our experience in helping many of the arrested students to obtain bail, they highlight that excessive force, arbitrary arrest, the targeting of 'ringleaders', and lengthy periods of detention, often without evidence linking detainees to any wrongdoing, are commonplace.
According to Wilson and Zondo, "Public order policing policy and standing orders are replete with calls for restraint and the careful management of volatile situations. Force is absolutely the last thing the police must resort to, and then with the minimum of it necessary to achieve a defined objective. Yet the reality is often unprovoked acts of police violence followed by self-serving justifications. Marikana and the death of Andries Tatane at Ficksburg were the very nasty tip of an extensive iceberg of excessive force in crowd control."
SERI's Lwazi Mtshiyo, together with colleagues from Ndifuna Ukwazi, has spoken at Habitat III side session in Quito, Ecuador, on why urban policy alone won’t solve South Africa’s inequality problem. Drawing on SERI's litigation experiences in Johannesburg's inner city, Mtshiyo discussed how post-apartheid housing efforts have failed to reverse race and class divisions in the country.
Today marks the first day of 'Litigating for Social Change', an international gathering of public interest litigation experts in Belfast, where SERI's Irene De Vos will be contributing to a discussion on Making Sure the Outcome Makes a Difference: Protecting Wins, together with other litigators and activists. The panel will focus on enforcement and implementation of successful outcomes, and consider, amongst others, what happens after a court victory, what follow up is required and how it is best organised, and how strategic litigation has been a tool for wider impact.
After years of litigation in Johannesburg's inner city, the housing rights jurisprudence has developed a set of legal principles around evictions in terms of the PIE Act, including procedural requirements, meaningful engagement and municipal provision of alternative accommodation. The City of Johannesburg has formulated the Special Process for the Relocation of Evictees (SPRE) as a response to its constitutional obligation to provide temporary alternative accommodation to occupants who might be rendered homeless by an eviction.
SERI this week submitted comments on SPRE, in which we welcome the development of the policy and its attendant Guidelines as they signal a more programmatic approach to the relocation of unlawful occupiers who would be rendered homeless by an eviction. We also outline several concerns about the SPRE Unit suggested in the policy, qualification for alternative accommodation, application for alternative accommodation, meaningful engagement, the nature of alternative accommodation and logistics of relocation.