[LITIGATION UPDATE] KwaDukuza Municipality reaches settlement with Sheffield Beach and Salt Rock community (25 July 2023).
On 12 July 2023, KwaDukuza Municipality reached a settlement agreement with the community of Sheffield Beach and the Salt Rock area which was made an order of Court. The settlement brought an end to eviction proceedings instituted by the Municipality against the community in 2019, prior to SERI's involvement.
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. Prior to the eviction proceedings, the municipality carried out unlawful demolitions in 2017 and 2018 and yet, also in 2017, the community was also 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.
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.
- Read more about the case and access relevant papers here.