Informal tradersOn 1 July 2014, SERI published a 2-page pamphlet entitled Protecting the Rights of Informal Traders: What process must municipalities follow if they want to restrict or prohibit informal trading in an area?

The pamphlet explains the process that a municipality must follow to legally prohibit informal trade in an area, or to relocate informal traders. It outlines what a municipality can do in terms of the Businesses Act 71 of 1991, what the process is that a municipality must follow to restrict or prohibit informal trade in an area in terms of section 6A(2) of the Businesses Act, and what can be done to stop the restriction or prohibition of trading in an area.

The pamphlet was developed in light of a recent decision by the City of Johannesburg's City Council to embark on a process of engagement to declare certain trading areas in the inner city of Johannesburg prohibited. The pamphlet aims to clarify the legal process that a municipality should follow in order to prohibit or restrict informal trade in an area, and, in doing so, seeks to ensure that municipalities follow the law and that those who might be negatively affected are given a chance to participate and articulate their position.

  • The 2-page pamphlet can be downloaded here and should ideally be printed and folded.

The SERI Law Clinic seeks the services of a practicing advocate to fill a vacancy for General Counsel, to commence work on 1 February 2015, or as soon as possible thereafter.

The SERI Law Clinic has a first-rate human rights practice, which encompasses constitutional and administrative law, criminal defence, defamation, labour law, property law, contract law (insofar as it involves consumer protection) and actions against the police and other delictual claims. SERI concentrates its work in South Africa’s townships, informal settlements, the Johannesburg inner city and other poor and marginalised communities. SERI’s practitioners appear regularly at all levels of the courts system, up to and including the Constitutional Court. SERI has an enviable track record in obtaining and enforcing ground-breaking judgments.

Reporting to the Director of Litigation, General Counsel will work alongside SERI’s attorneys across the whole range of SERI work. He or she will appear in court alone or together with a silk and/or more junior counsel in trials, motions and appeals as required.

The closing date for applications is Friday 18 July 2014. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted, and will be expected to make themselves available for interview in August 2014.

  • Read the full job description (including essential and desirable requirements, salary and application process) here.

 

SERI wishes to fill two vacancies for Candidate Attorneys beginning 12 January 2015.

The SERI Law Clinic has a first-rate human rights practice, which encompasses constitutional and administrative law, criminal defence, defamation, labour law, property law, contract law (insofar as it involves consumer protection) and actions against the police and other delictual claims. SERI concentrates its work in South Africa’s townships, informal settlements, the Johannesburg Inner City and other poor and marginalised communities. SERI’s practitioners appear regularly at all levels of the courts system, up to and including the Constitutional Court. SERI has an enviable track record in obtaining and enforcing ground-breaking judgments.

Candidate Attorneys are recruited for a fixed-term of two years, leading to qualification and admission as an Attorney.

The closing date for applications is Friday 18 July 2014. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted, and will be expected to make themselves available for interview in August 2014.

  • Read the full job description (inclluding essential and desirable requirements, salary and application process) here.

On 10 June 2014, over 1 000 occupiers of several inner city Johannesburg buildings issued an application in the Johannesburg High Court, requesting the court to declare that the City of Johannesburg has failed to discharge its obligations, under section 26(2) of the Constitution, to provide temporary accommodation to people facing eviction.

The application is a response to the City’s attempt to get an order suspending nearly 30 pending evictions, because it does not have land or buildings available to provide for people who are evicted. The City claims this inability to provide alternative accommodation is due to it awaiting the outcome of the Dladla matter, in which residents of alternative accommodation provided by the City are challenging the lawfulness of the rules in the accommodation.

Today an illegal eviction was attempted at one of the buildings represented by SERI - Jeanwell Court - by the owner, City officials and JMPD officers. The occupiers of that property were evicted out onto the streets because the City says that their homes are unsafe. These occupiers, who, like thousands of others, live in constant fear of eviction from dilapidated buildings, cannot be expected to wait in limbo for years until it suits the City to come up with a plan for them.

In seeking to suspend all evictions that might require it to provide alternative accommodation, the City wants to suspend its own obligations to provide decent shelter for poor and vulnerable people. This comes after several years in which the City has refused to engage with the occupiers on their needs and circumstances, or plan and budget for providing accommodation. The City has adopted an unreasonable, inflexible attitude to the occupiers and their circumstances. That, the occupiers will tell the High Court, is unlawful.

In their application, the occupiers are requesting that a detailed process of engagement, investigation and reporting-back to court is undertaken by the City. This would include: implementing revised criteria for determining eligibility for the provision of temporary accommodation; adopting reasonable measures, within available resources, to provide temporary accommodation to the occupiers; and engaging meaningfully, individually and collectively, with each of the occupiers, the owners of the property and their legal representatives in order to determine their individual circumstances and the extent to which the City’s managed care policy should be applied to them.

The occupiers want the City to file a report showing the steps it has taken to engage with the occupiers and owners on the provision of temporary accommodation; the terms and conditions under which the occupiers are to be accommodated; and the nature of the land and/or buildings available (or not) to the City to accommodate the occupiers.

  • Read the full SERI press statement here.
  • Read more on the stay application here.
  • Read more on the Dladla case here.

SERI and Probono.Org hosted a soundboard meeting on the development of guidelines to the implementation of large-scale relocations in eviction cases and instances of voluntary relocation on 6 June 2014 in Johannesburg. The soundboard meeting was attended by representatives from various civil society organisations and legal NGOs and provided an opportunity for SERI to present its draft guidelines to the group. The guidelines draw on the legal principles that govern relocations, as developed through case law, as well as SERI's practical experience in implementing relocations. The guidelines will be published later in 2014.