SERI has launched an application on behalf of approximately 7 000 people (3 709 households) living at the Slovo Park informal settlement in Johannesburg. The settlement lacks access to formal services and housing, which the residents have been promised for almost 20 years.

In the application to the High Court the residents argue that the City of Johannesburg's failure to take a decision to apply to the Gauteng Provincial Government for funding to upgrade Slovo Park in terms of the Upgrading of Informal Settlements Programme (UISP) - contained in the 2009 National Housing Code - is in breach of the constitutional principle of legality, as well as sections 26(2), 151(1)(a) and 153(a) of the Constitution. The failure to take a decision is also administrative action, and falls to be reviewed in terms of section 6(2)(g) of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act 3 of 2000 (PAJA).

The residents therefore seek to review the City's failure to take the decision to apply in terms of the UISP, and to compel it to make such an application.

  • SPCDF and SERI press statement (4 February 2014) here. Timeline of promises and plans here.
  • Notice of motion here and founding affidavit here (29 January 2014).
  • Read more on the case here.

On 13 January 2014 the Constitutional Court admitted Abahlali baseMjondolo as amicus curiae in an appeal to be heard on 12 February 2014. On 23 January, Abahlali filed its written submissions in the case, which concerns the constitutional validity of an order granted to the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works on 28 March 2013. The order permits and obliges eThekwini Municipality to “prevent any persons from invading and/or occupying and/or undertaking the construction of any structures” on specified land within the municipality’s area of jurisdiction, and to “remove any materials placed by any persons upon” that land. Abahlali has thousands of members with an interest in any case dealing with the validity of the MEC order.

  • Amicus curiae's written submissions here, practice note here and list of authorities here (23 January 2014).
  • Read more on the case here.

On 21 January, SERI’s executive director, Stuart Wilson, wrote an op-ed that was published in the Daily Maverick. The op-ed comes in response to a recent article by Stephen Grootes, a radio talk show host and political correspondent for EyeWitness News, on what Grootes terms a “culture of entitlement” in South Africa. In rebuffing Grootes’ claims, the article explores the advantages of the welfare state from a comparative perspective and the pervasive lack of opportunities for socially excluded and marginalised households in South Africa.

The Constitutional Court has admitted Abahlali baseMjondolo as amicus curiae in a case due to be heard on 12 February 2014 in the Constitutional Court.

The case -  Zulu and 389 Others v eThekwini Municipality and Others (Zulu) - concerns the constitutional validity of an order granted to the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works on 28 March 2013. The order permits and obliges eThekwini Municipality to “prevent any persons from invading and/or occupying and/or undertaking the construction of any structures” on specified land within the municipality’s area of jurisdiction, and to “remove any materials placed by any persons upon” that land. Abahlali has thousands of members with an interest in any case dealing with the validity of the MEC order.

  • Application for leave to intervene in Constitutional Court: notice of motion here and founding affidavit (4 December 2013) here.
  • Read more on the case here.

DumisaNtsebeza

In January 2014 Adv Dumisa Ntsebeza SC became the newest member of SERI's Board of Directors. Since October 2012 Adv Ntsebeza has represented, before the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, 36 families of striking miners who were killed by the police at Marikana in August 2012.

Adv Ntsebeza was admitted as an attorney in 1984, practicing in the Eastern Cape, mainly in the area of human rights. He represented a number of political prisoners throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1995 he was appointed one of the Commissioners in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). He is a founder of South African National Association of Democratic Lawyers and served as its President. He also served as president of South Africa's Black Lawyers Association. In 2000, Adv Ntsebeza was called to the Bar in Cape Town, where he took Silk in 2005, becoming the first African to be conferred Silk status in the history of the Cape Bar. He has practised in the Johannesburg Bar since 2008, specialising in Constitutional and Administrative Law, Labour Law, Mining Law and Land Law.

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