SymbolsIn November 2013 a new book entitled Socio-Economic Rights in South Africa: Symbols or Substance? was published by Cambridge University Press. SERI senior researcher Jackie Dugard is one of the book's editors, together with Malcolm Langford, Ben Cousins and Tshepo Madlingozi.

This important book focuses on a range of socio-economic rights and national trends in law and political economy. The book's authors show how socio-economic rights have influenced the development of civil society discourse and action in South Africa. The evidence suggests that some strategies have achieved material and political impact but this is conditional on the nature of the claim, degree of mobilization and alliance building, and underlying constraints.

Download the flyer for the book here.

Nomzamo Zondo, an attorney from SERI who represents the South African Informal Traders Forum (SAITF) and over 1 200 informal traders, was this afternoon arrested by Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) officers in the Johannesburg CBD. Her arrest comes only a few hours after the Constitutional Court interdicted the City of Johannesburg from interfering with lawful informal traders’ rights to trade in the inner city, pending the hearing of an application to the High Court to review the decision to implement the so-called Operation Clean Sweep campaign in the inner city.

  • Read the full press statement (5 December 2013) here.
  • Constitutional Court order (5 December 2013) here.

Today the Constitutional Court issued directions setting down for hearing the urgent application by the South African Informal Traders Forum (SAITF) and 1 200 informal traders. It will be heard tomorrow, Thursday 5 December at 09h00 in the Constitutional Court. Earlier today the City filed a notice to oppose the application together with an answering affidavit.

  • Heads of argument for the SAITF applicants (5 December 2013) here.
  • Media summary issued by the Constitutional Court (4 December 2013) here.
  • Directions from the Constitutional Court (4 December 2013) here.
  • City's notice to oppose and answering affidavit (4 December 2013) here.
  • Read more on the case here.

The South African Informal Traders Forum (SAITF) and over 1 200 informal traders have applied to the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal the South Gauteng High Court order handed down on 27 November, which struck the traders’ case from the roll.

SAITF wants the matter dealt with urgently and for the Constitutional Court to place the traders – who have always traded lawfully – in a position to continue with their lawful business activities, pending the determination of the appeal (either to the Constitutional Court or to a Full Bench of the High Court). This trading would occur in line with the City of Johannesburg’s Informal Trading By-Laws at the locations the traders occupied immediately before their removal in terms of Operation Clean Sweep.

On 2 December, the Constitutional Court issued directions to the City and the other respondents, directing them to file an opposing affidavit on or before 3 December if they wish to oppose the urgent application for interim relief. According to the Chief Justice, the opposing affidavit must set out why the interim relief sought by the traders in terms of Part A of the High Court application should not be granted pending the determination of Part B. On 4 December 2013 the City filed its notice to oppose and asnwering affidavit.

  • City's notice to oppose and answering affidavit (4 December 2013) here.
  • Directions from the Constitutional Court (2 December 2013) here.
  • Read the full SERI press release (2 December 2013) here.
  • Read more on the case here.

On 28 November 2013, SERI and the Centre for Urbanism and Built Environment Studies (CUBES) officially launched two resource guides aimed at tenants and sectional title owners. The first, entitled A Tenant's Guide to Rental Housing, is aimed at assisting tenants to navigate the start, duration and end of the landlord-tenant relationship. As a companion to this, SERI has also published a separate guide called Rental Housing in South Africa: Legislation, Regulations and Case Law which includes the Rental Housing Act and the Gauteng Unfair Practices Regulations printed in full together with some guidelines to help readers navigate the content.

The second CUBES and SERI resource guide launched is called A Guide to Sectional Title in South Africa, which provides a brief description and explanation of the main issues that those involved in sectional title schemes should be aware of. It deals with a number of key questions that are commonly raised, and also lays out how certain disputes and challenges should be dealt with.

  • Read more on the three guides here.

Resource guides