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[INVITATION] SERI, Abahlali baseMjondolo & the Forge to launch CPN in Johannesburg (14 November 2022).


Abahlali baseMjondolo, the Forge and the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) invite you to the opening of Socialism or Death: Abahlali baseMjondolo on the Frontlines of Struggle, a collection of images taken by Nomfundo Xolo and Siyabonga Mbhele.

The opening will be followed by the panel discussion to launch SERI's new Community Practice Note (CPN), Abahlali baseMjondolo: Living PoliticsThe CPN details Abahlali baseMjondolo’s 17-year history, its strategies and tactics for advancing their fight for land, housing and basic services and how it has responded to evictions, repression and state violence in a highly charged political context that has cost the movement 24 lives since 2009.


The panel discussion will be facilitated by SERI's Lauren Royston and will include the following panellists:

Thapelo Mohapi, General Secretary, Abahlali baseMjondolo

Melita Ngcobo, Chairperson of Vusimuzi branch in Thembisa, Abahlali baseMjondolo

Richard Pithouse, Scholar, activist and journalist

Thato Masiangoako, Researcher, SERI.


Event details are as follows:

WHEN: Thursday, 17 November 2022 from 18:00.

WHERE: 87 De Korte Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.


Access the CPN here.

[OP-ED] Abahlali baseMjondolo's experience exposes South Africa’s shrinking democratic space, writes SERI's Thato Masiangoako (19 October 2022).

AbM CPN Masiangoako Daily Maverick

On 19 October 2022, the Daily Maverick published an op-ed written by SERI's Thato Masiangoako entitled, 'The Abahlali baseMjondolo experience exposes South Africa’s shrinking democratic space'. The op-ed draws on SERI's recently published Community Practice Note entitled 'Abahlali baseMjondolo: Living Politics'. The op-ed discusses the social movement's experiences of state-sanctioned and political violence as an indicator of how the democratic spaces vital for rights-claiming and holding political leaders accountable are increasingly coming under threat in South Africa.

Masiangoako writes that Abahlali's "experience since its emergence in 2005 shows how the South African state has failed to fully embed democratic principles that embrace a plurality of ideas, that fully appreciate dissent as healthy and that uphold a commitment to dignity, equality and freedom of all people."

She argues that "at a time of increasing intolerance for divergent ideas that challenge dominant interests, civil society and allied groups have an obligation to demonstrate what Abahlali calls “living solidarity” with those facing the greatest risk. Such solidarity is an act of defending South Africa’s democracy."


  • Read the full op-ed here.
  • Access the CPN and its English and isiZulu executive summaries here.

[NEWSLETTER] SERI's October 2022 Newsletter is out! (17 October 2022).

newsletter Oct 2022

SERI's October 2022 Newsletter is out! The last five months have been a busy period for us. In this edition, we present a few highlights from our work since our last newsletter in May 2022.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Marikana massacre in which 44 people were killed. We undertook a series of events on commemoration. This provided us with an opportunity to take stock of the journey travelled in pursuit of justice over the past ten years and strategically engage on the way forward. Through the protection of informal traders in Johannesburg, SERI demonstrated its commitment to protecting the rights of all people to make a living free from harm or harassment. We further worked to advance the right of access to secure tenure and adequate housing in the cases of South Africa Human Rights Commission v The City of Cape Town and Thubakgale v Ekurhuleni Municipality.

During this period we experienced frightening threats to our staff. The overwhelming solidarity of civil society and government saw us through the difficult time. We also received a significant once-off donation to secure our sustainability.

  • View the full newsletter online here

[VIDEO] Yolanda Dyantyi’s journey to justice (11 October 2022).

YD Pic

Five years ago, on 11 October 2017, during Rhodes University’s disciplinary proceedings involving then-student Yolanda Dyantyi and others, the University-appointed proctor Mr. Wayne Hutchinson made the decision to postpone a portion of the disciplinary proceedings when Yolanda Dyantyi would lead her case to a date on which he was aware that both Ms. Dyantyi and her legal counsel would be unavailable. That decision sparked the beginning of Ms. Dyantyi’s legal battle to have an opportunity to tell her side of the story.

At the time, Ms. Dyantyi was facing charges of “kidnapping”, “insubordination” towards University officials, assault, and defamation for her role in April 2016 #RUReferenceList protests. In November 2017, Ms. Dyantyi was found guilty by the disciplinary inquiry and permanently excluded from the university. At the time, she was in her third and final year of study for a Bachelor of Arts degree.

In March 2022, in a review application, the Supreme Court of Appeal found in Ms. Dyantyi’s favour by reviewing and setting aside Rhodes University’s decision to convict and sanction her on the basis that the disciplinary proceedings were procedurally unfair in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act 3 of 2000 (PAJA). The SCA noted that even at common law, the ability to present evidence in one’s own defence is the essence of a fair hearing. The Court held that Ms. Dyantyi’s presentation of her case was a matter of some factual and legal complexity. The complexity, coupled with the potential seriousness of the consequences of an adverse finding, entitled her to adequate representation for the duration of the inquiry.

SERI has supported the production of a short video that details Yolanda Dyantyi’s jouney to justice.

Watch the video clip here.

[SUBMISSION] SERI makes a submission on the Unlawful Entering on Premises Bill (10 October 2022).

Last week, SERI made a submission to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development on the Unlawful Entering on Premises Bill. 

On 12 August 2022, The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development issued a notice calling on all stakeholders and interested persons to submit written comments on the proposed Unlawful Entering on Premises Bill, 2022 (the Bill). The stated purpose of the Bill is to prohibit unlawful entry on premises and to provide for matters connected therewith. Among other things, it provides for the offence of unlawful entry and the penalties to be imposed if a person is found to be guilty of the offence; the duty to inform an “intruder” of unlawful entry; the powers of the police; and defences to the offence of unlawful entry. In brief, the Bill seeks to repeal and replace the Trespass Act 6 of 1959 (“the Trespass Act”) and to prohibit unlawful entry on premises.

SERI has read and considered the Bill and makes this submission to the Department in accordance with the invitation to submit written comments. 

Overall, SERI is concerned that the Bill, in its current state, does little to advance the ideals of our democratic dispensation. On the contrary, it rolls back progress made since the end of apartheid. The Bill contradicts the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from, and Unlawful Occupation of, Land Act 19 of 1998 (“the PIE Act”) in numerous places. We do not believe that Bill can be salvaged and as a result, we contend that the Bill must be abandoned in its entirety. Furthermore, SERI submits that the Trespass Act should still be repealed.

Download SERI’s submission here