SERI has developed a new research output called Community Practice Notes, in which we document the socio-economic struggles of community-based organisations in different settlement contexts in South Africa.

Securing a Home Community Practice Notes

Informal Settlement Series

SERI’s first community practice notes published in August 2014 are a series on informal settlement struggles for development, in which we examine how community-based organisations (CBOs) in four informal settlements in South Africa have organised and mobilised for development, particularly around the in situ upgrading of informal settlements. The series documents and analyses the relationship between evictions, development, community organisation and mobilisation, local politics, protest and the use of courts.

The four community practice notes making up the Informal Settlement Series are:

1. Makause: Resisting Relocation on the East Rand

MakauseMakause: Resisting Relocation on the East Rand is the first in the Informal Settlement Series of community practice notes. Makause informal settlement is located in the suburb of Primrose in Germiston, which falls within the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality in the Gauteng province. The settlement was established in the mid-1990s after retrenched mine workers occupied the abandoned vacant site, known as Driefontein Farm. Some residents have lived at the settlement for over 20 years.

This community practice note provides a brief background to the settlement; summarises the key events in the struggle to resist eviction and push for development at the settlement; and examines the strategies and tactics of the local community structure, the Makause Community Development Forum (Macodefo).

 

 

2. Rooigrond: Community Struggle in the North West

RooigrondRooigrond: Community Struggle in the North West is the second in SERI’s Informal Settlement Series of community practice notes. Rooigrond informal settlement is located in ward 27 of Mahikeng Local Municipality in the North West province. It is a rural settlement informally divided into two sections and comprising approximately 600 households (1 500 people) living mainly in shacks, but also in mud and brick houses.

This community practice note provides a brief background to the settlement; summarises the key events in the struggle to resist relocation and push for development in the context of broader political struggles, inter-governmental relations failures and protest in the North West province; and examines the strategies and tactics of the local community structure, the Rooigrond Committee.

 

3. Thembelihle: Engaging an Unresponsive State

ThembelihleThembelihle: Engaging an Unresponsive State is the third in SERI’s Informal Settlement Series of community practice notes. Thembelihle informal settlement is located to the south-west of Johannesburg in the suburb of Lenasia, within the City of Johannesburg. The settlement was established on municipal-owned land in the mid-1980s by rural migrants and employees of a brick manufacturing company. Some residents have lived at the settlement for over 20 years. Currently between 7 000 and 8 000 households reside at the settlement.

This community practice note provides a brief background to the settlement; summarises the key events in the struggle to resist relocation and promote in situ upgrading; and examines the strategies and tactics of the local community structure, the Thembelihle Crisis Committee (TCC).

 

 

 4. Slovo Park: Twenty Years of Broken Promises

Slovo ParkSlovo Park: Twenty Years of Broken Promises is the fourth in SERI’s Informal Settlement Series of community practice notes. Slovo Park informal settlement is located next to the Nancefield industrial area, between Eldorado Park and Bushkoppies in the City of Johannesburg. Slovo Park consists of around 3 700 households (approximately 7 000 people) living on more than 1 000 informal stands. The settlement was established in the early 1990s by people who moved to the site in search of land close to their jobs.

This community practice notes provides a brief background to the settlement; summarises the key events in the struggle to push for upgrading at the settlement; and examines the strategies and tactics of the local community structure, the Slovo Park Community Development Forum (SPCDF).

 

 

Slovo Park: Some Gains At Last (second edition)

Slovo ParkSlovo Park: Some Gains At Last is the second edition of the fourth publication in SERI’s Informal Settlement Series of community practice notes. The second edition of the community practice note is a continuation of Slovo Park’s story since receiving a High Court Judgment from the Gauteng Local Division that ordered the City of Johannesburg to upgrade Slovo Park in situ. This edition documents the SPCDF’s strategies and tactics to implement their court order in collaboration with government through the establishment of a multi-stakeholder TaskTeam that facilitated the installation of electricity and continues to engage around the upgrading and layout plan.

 

 

 

Johannesburg Inner City Alternative Accommodation Series

SERI’s second set of Community Practice Notes published in July 2016 are a series on struggles for access to adequate housing in inner city Johannesburg. They highlight the histories of resisting evictions and the ongoing challenges faced by people in the relocation sites where alternative accommodation has been provided by the City of Johannesburg.

The three community practice notes making up the Johannesburg Inner City Alternative Accommodation Series are:

1. From San Jose to MBV 1

CPN1From San Jose to MBV 1 is the first in the Johannesburg Inner City Alternative Accommodation Series of community practice notes. San Jose is a block of flats in Berea, Johannesburg, which was built in the 1960s. The City of Johannesburg sought to evict the occupants before the Constitutional Court ordered it to provide them with alternative accommodation in a case known as Olivia Road. The City provided the occupants with alternative accommodation in two buildings, called MBV 1 and Old Perm.

This Community Practice Note documents experiences of residents at MBV 1. It provides a brief background to San Jose, highlights key events in the struggle against eviction, examines residents’ experiences of life at MBV 1 and provides some conclusions regarding the provision of alternative accommodation.

 

  

 

2. From Carr Street to MOTH

CPN2From Carr Street to MOTH is the second in the Johannesburg Inner City Alternative Accommodation Series of community practice notes. Residents of the Dina Glassware building, a derelict building on Carr Street in Newtown, resisted illegal attempts at eviction before they were fporced to relocate after a fire in the building. Residents were relocated to MOTH, a three floor building with a basement, with a large communal kitchen and dining room. Each floor is essentially a large empty hall with no sub-divisions.

This Community Practice Note provides a brief background to the Carr Street building, highlights key events in the struggle against eviction, examines residents’ experiences of life at the MOTH building and provides some conclusions regarding the provision of alternative accommodation.

 

 

 

3. From Saratoga Avenue to MBV 2 and Ekuthuleni

CPN3From Saratoga Avenue to MBV 2 and Ekuthuleni is the third in the Johannesburg Inner City Alternative Accommodation Series of community practice notes. In the court cases known as Blue Moonlight and Dladla, the occupants of 7 Saratoga Avenue, a commercial property in Berea, were provided with alternative accommodation in two buildings, called MBV2 and Ekuthuleni.

This Community Practice Note provides a brief background to the Saratoga Avenue building, highlights key events in the struggle against eviction, examines residents’ experiences of life at MBV 2 and Ekuthuleni and provides some conclusions regarding the provision of alternative accommodation.

 

 

 

Informal Settlement Relocation Series

SERI’s third set of Community Practice Notes published in July 2016 are a series on informal settlement relocation. It highlights community struggles for access to adequate housing and how people experience the relocations that follow court processes regarding the provision of alternative accommodation.

The two community practice notes making up the Informal Settlement Relocation Series are:

1. From Marie Louise to “Rugby Club”

CPN MLFrom Marie Louise to "Rugby Club" is the first in the Informal Settlement Relocation Series of community practice notes. The Marie Louise informal settlement is located 15 kilometres to the west of the Johannesburg CBD. After resisitng various illegal evictions, the High Court ordered that the City of Johannesburg relocate the to alternative accommodation at a nearby site called "Rugby Club".

This Community Practice Note provides a brief background to the Marie Louise informal settlement, highlights key events in the struggle against eviction, examines residents’ experiences of the relocation to the Rugby Club site, and provides some conclusions regarding informal settlement relocation.

 

2. From Taylor Road to Ruimsig and Fleurhof

CPN TRFrom Taylor Road to Ruimsig and Fleurhof is the second in the Informal Settlement Relocation Series of community practice notes. The residents of Taylor Road informal settlement in Honeydew were relocated to two seperate locations after being evicted by the owner of the property and lengthy engagements with the City of Johannesburg on the provision of alternative accommodation. The community engaged both in and out of the courts.

This Community Practice Note provides a brief background to the Taylor Road informal settlement, highlights key events in the struggle against eviction, examines residents’ experiences of the relocation to Ruimsig and Fleurhof and provides some conclusions regarding informal settlement relocation.

  

 

 

 

Social Movement Series

SERI’s fifth set of Community Practice Notes published in November 2017 examines different social movements and community-based networks advocating for socio-economic development for poor and vulnerable people in different contexts in South Africa. The series assesses how social movements and community-based networks have organised and mobilised to advocate for decent, well-located housing, and protect and strengthen the tenure rights of low-income people.

The first community practice note in the series is:

1. Inner City Federation: Fighting for Decent Housing in Inner-City Johannesburg

InnerCityFed CPN imgInner City Federation: Fighting for Decent Housing in Inner-City Johannesburg examines the strategies and tactics of the Inner City Federation (ICF), a self-organising coalition of tenants and unlawful occupiers from over 40 buildings in inner-city Johannesburg that advocates for housing and basic services, and challenges the stigma associated with low-income inner-city residents.

This community practice note provides a brief background to the challenges facing low-income tenants and unalwful occupiers in inner-city Johannesburg. It also summarises the key events in the struggles of poor inner-city residents to resist evictions, harassment and displacement; establish and maintain effective self-management structures in dilapidated buildings; collectively mobilise; and advocate for decent housing.

 

 

Making a Living Community Practice Notes

Making a Living Series

SERI’s fouth set of Community Practice Notes published in July 2017 focus on people in precarious work. The community practice notes in this series highlight the struggles many vulnerable people face in earning a livelihood, including poor working conditions, long hours, low pay, and the insecurity associated with part time, temporary or informal employment.

The first community practice note in the Making a Living Series is:

1. Abattoir Workers: Unfair Labour Practices and Anti-Union Strategies in Robertson

CPN Abattoir workers pic FINALAbattoir Workers: Unfair Labour Practices and Anti-Union Strategies in Robertson is the first in the Making a Living Series of community practice notes. It details the struggles of a group of abattoir workers against unfair labour practices in Robertson. The workers were forced to work significant amounts of overtime (much more than the legal limit) and were dismissed when they resisted these unlawful practices. The community practice note documents their struggles to unionise and vindicate their rights in court.

This community practice note provides a brief background to the working conditions at an abattoir in Robertson; summarises the key events in the abattoir workers' struggle; and examines the strategies workers used to defend their rights. It is available in English and Afrikaans.