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[SUBMISSION] SERI makes a submission on the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Amendment Bill (10 October 2022).

Last week, SERI made a submission to Parliament on the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Amendment Bill. 

On 2 September 2022, a notice inviting all stakeholders and interested persons to submit written comments on the proposed Bill was published in the Government Gazette. This is a private members Bill that Ms E Powell, MP, from the Democratic Alliance (DA) intends to introduce in the National Assembly of Parliament.

Drawing on its preamble, the stated purpose of the draft Bill is to amend and restrict the application of the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998 (“the PIE Act”). It seeks to add and amend definitions of the Act; impose punitive measures for the incitement or promotion of unlawful occupation; provide criteria to be satisfied in court prior to an order for the municipal provision of alternative accommodation; allow for courts to determine the duration of alternative accommodation; and determine reasons for unlawful occupation in court as well as family obligations to support occupiers.

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

SERI submits that the Bill is flawed on a number of grounds:

  • It is void of both historical context and the current reality informing why the poor and historically dispossessed occupy land.
  • It introduces amendments that are either redundant in law or potentially interfere with the discretion of judicial officers.
  • It seeks to override decades of carefully considered and progressive jurisprudence on the PIE Act by, amongst others, the Constitutional Court through a regressive amendment Bill.
  • It seeks to ‘walk back’ the responsibility of the municipality in its duty to provide alternative accommodation in cases where homelessness would ensue.
  • It seeks to introduce measures in the application of the PIE Act that are vague in practical implementation.

SERI, therefore, submits that the draft Bill should be abandoned in its entirety.

Download SERI’s submission here

[ADVOCACY] SERI, ICJ and LHR write about the impact of South Africa’s employment law reform on the right to work of non-citizens (6 October 2022).

Oxford HR Hub NLMP ESAB.jpgThe Oxford Human Rights Hub has published a new blog post entitled, The impact of South Africa’s employment law reform on the right to work of non-citizens written by Mulesa Lumina (International Commission of Jurists’ Africa), SERI's Dr Yvonne Erasmus and Sharon Ekambaram (Lawyers for Human Rights).

The article discusses some of the issues with South Africa's recent policy developments in the form of the draft National Labour Migration Policy (NLMP) and the Employment Services Amendment Bill (ESAB) which demonstrate South Africa's intention to continue tackling unemployment by creating opportunities for locals, while ensuring it retains and attracts skilled migrant labour. The authors examine how these proposals fit alongside the country’s international human rights and domestic law obligations to safeguard the right to work. They write that:

"in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Article 15) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Articles 6 to 8), South Africa is obliged to take, without discrimination, positive steps to tackle unemployment in order to fulfil the right to work of all those under its jurisdiction. It must also ensure that it creates an enabling environment for employing marginalised and disadvantaged persons, including non-citizens, and must refrain from enacting legislative or other measures that would deny or limit equal access to decent work for all."


  • Read the full blog post here.
  • Read SERI and LHR's submission here.

[NEW PUBLICATION] SERI launches new community practice note on Abahlali baseMjondolo (4 October 2022).

AbM CPN COVEROn 4 October, the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI), together with Abahlali baseMjondolo, will launch a new Community Practice Note entitled Abahlali baseMjondolo: Living Politics. The CPN will be launched in eKhenana Commune in Cato Manor as Abahlali celebrates its 17th birthday.

The CPN documents Abahlali baseMjondolo’s history, the social movement’s strategies and tactics for advancing its objectives, and how it has survived repeated and varied forms of state violence. It tells a story of how Abahlali baseMjondolo has responded to evictions and repression in a highly charged political context and the price the movement and its members have paid for organising outside of formal politics and challenging the state. This CPN also memorialises the 24 lives lost by Abahlali baseMjondolo between 2009 and 2022. 

The CPN is also accompanied by English and isiZulu executive summaries.

At the launch, panelists will include Abahlali’s Zandile Nsibande and Mfanufikile Sindane, who are key leaders in the movement’s Women and Youth Leagues as well as partners of the movement, Verushka Memdutt from the Poor People’s Coalition, Right2Know and Market Users Committee as well as David Ntseng of the Church Land Programme. These speakers were among those interviewed in the research for the CPN. SERI executive director Nomzamo Zondo and Abahlali baseMjondolo president S’bu Zikode will also share their reflections.

This new publication is the second in the series on social movements and community‑based organisations engaged in struggles to protect socio-economic rights. The first was Inner City Federation: Fighting for Decent Housing in Inner-City Johannesburg.


  • Download the community practice note here.
  • Download the isiZulu executive summary here.
  • Download the English executive summary here.
  • Read the media release here.
  • Find other community practice notes here.

[OP-ED] UDWOSA's Pinky Mashiane & SERI's Kelebogile Khunou write about the undervaluation of domestic work (19 September 2022).

Pinky Kele op ed Sept2022On 19 September 2022, SERI researcher Kelebogile Khunou and Pinky Mashiane, president of United Domestic Workers of South Africa (UDWOSA) had an op-ed published by News24. The op-ed, entitled 'We want ubuntu, but fail to treat our domestic workers properly', discusses the continued undervaluation of domestic work in South Africa against the backdrop of the recently celebrated Women's Month.

Mashiane and Khunou write,

"Well into September now, we reflect that Women's Month is not a cause for celebration for domestic workers. Domestic workers continue to be oppressed and exploited, and no one is being held accountable. In general, employers treat domestic work as an informal arrangement, not a form of employment regulated by labour laws. This work is undervalued because it is work historically performed by female family members and by "servants" during apartheid."


Read the full op-ed here.


[ANNUAL REVIEW] SERI’s Annual Review of January to December 2021 is now available (22 August 2022).

2021 annual review


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The review details SERI's research, litigation and advocacy work over the period in our thematic areas of Securing a Home, Making a Living, and Expanding Political Space.

This year we use five factors to review our work and consider our impact, namely, “Lives changed”, “Changes to law and policy”, “Shifting attitudes and values of government”, “Our ability to influence the public agenda”, “Our contribution to deepening democracy” and, “Strengthening the public interest legal services sector”. 

  • The Review is available here.
  • Watch the Executive Director's message here
  • Watch the Chairperson's message here