SERI is a section 21 not-for-profit organisation providing professional, dedicated and expert socio-economic rights assistance to individuals, communities and social movements in the form of rigorous applied research, engagement with government, policy/legal advocacy and reform, civil society coordination/mobilisation and public interest litigation. Our thematic areas are: housing and evictions; access to basic services (water, sanitation, electricity); and political space.
SERI was established in January 2010 by Jackie Dugard and Stuart Wilson, who became the first executive director and director of litigation respectively. In December 2012, Jackie stepped down as executive director to pursue an academic career, and Stuart took over the position (read the SERI press release here). Teboho Mosikili was appointed as the director of litigation. SERI is registered by the Law Society of the Northern Provinces as a Law Clinic, and accredited by the Johannesburg Bar Council as an approved public interest law centre.
For more information on SERI's work, read our 2011 Annual Report (published in June 2012), which includes a message from our Chairperson, organisational information and financial statements, comments from current interns, annexes with all staff publications, presentations, conferences, teaching etc. It also provides comprehensive summaries of advocacy, research and litigation activities conducted during 2011/2012. Our 2010 Annual Report is also available. In 2011 we produced three newsletters: May 2011, August 2011 and December 2011. In 2012 we published a newsletter in June 2012 and in December 2012.
SERI has the following aims and objectives:
- To advance the currency of human rights and particularly socio-economic rights in South Africa.
- To promote the fulfilment of socio-economic rights by vulnerable communities in South Africa.
- To assist poor and marginalised groups to realise an adequate standard of living.
- To contribute to public governance through empowering local communities to understand their rights, government processes and to effectively engage in such processes, thereby holding government accountable.
- To advance the currency of human rights, and particularly socio-economic rights, in South Africa through contributing to and influencing socio-economic rights-related debate and practice.
- To ensure pro-poor legal and policy frameworks and to develop socio-economic rights jurisprudence through strategic advocacy and litigation.
- To promote the fulfilment of socio-economic rights and an adequate standard of living for vulnerable groups in South Africa through providing dedicated, expert socio-economic rights assistance to poor communities, social movements and women’s and migrant groups.
- To advance public governance through empowering local communities to understand their rights, government processes and to effectively engage in such processes, thereby holding government accountable particularly at the local level, where delivery and local democracy are affected.
- To contribute to the networking and coordination of rights-based civil society initiatives and campaigns in relation to access to housing, water, electricity and sanitation, with a particular focus between 2012 and 2014 on advancing activism around regularising housing and basic services in informal settlements.