Eviction - KwaDukuza Municipality - PIE Act - KwaZulu-Natal High Court, Durban
SERI represents an informal settlement community in the Sheffield Beach and Salt Rock area, under the municipality of KwaDukuka in KwaZulu-Natal. Abahlali baseMjonodlo has a branch and in the settlement. The community comprised approximately 117 households which include more than 50 children. The community of Sheffield Beach and the Salt Rock area occupied the area in 2014 although members of the community were previously forcibly relocated from the area in 1987, when the area was still named eThafeni.
The community was served by the Sheriff with a notice for eviction sought by the Municipality in 2020. This followed unlawful demolitions that were carried out in 2017 and 2018. Yet, also in 2017, the community was visited by municipal officials and leaders from the African National Congress (ANC) who advised them that they could build their homes with brick and mortar whilst awaiting RDP housing.
The municipality brought the eviction against the community, seeking to relocate them to the Mgigimbe area approximately 30km away because it claimed that the informal settlement was adversely affecting the sales and value of newly developed luxury estates in the area, and because the municipality has plans for housing development in the area for which funding has been approved.
In November 2020, the community filed its founding affidavit. In it, the community submitted that such an eviction would now be just and equitable. The community also submitted that they had not been meaningfully consulted prior to instituting the eviction proceedings and that they had not been given an opportunity to take part in a meeting held concerning planned housing development in the area and further submitted that as the only community residing in the area, they would like to be considered in the housing development.
In 2023, the community, alongside SERI, began taking part in a task team established for the housing development. The task team comprises of the appointed implementing agent, the Sheffield community, the KwaDukuza municipality and the local ward councillor are all represented.
Following engagements with the Municipality to have the eviction proceedings withdrawn in light of the community's participation in the housing development meetings, the Municipality reached a settlement with the community in July 2023 which has been made an order of Court. The settlement includes an undertaking by the municipality to include the community (of approximately 310 households) as beneficiaries of the planned mixed-use housing development designed to cater to middle and low-income earners.
- Settlement agreement (12 July 2023) here.
- KwaDukuza Municipality supplementary affidavit (22 June 2022) here.
- KwaDukuza Municipality replying affidavit (14 June 2022) here.
- SERI Answering affidavit (27 November 2020) here.
- KwaDukuza Municipality founding affidavit (December 2019) here.