SERI Press Statement Mag Court Launch

On Wednesday, 23 March 2022, the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) will launch the first output in its Just and Equitable? Evictions Research Series. The series is concerned with the way in which the courts adjudicated evictions in the Johannesburg inner city between 2013 and 2018. It aims to review the courts’ implementation of relevant legislation (such as Section 26(3) of the Constitution and the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998 (the PIE Act)) and case law. In addition, the series maps the spatial distribution of evictions to highlight any wards in the inner city that face particular vulnerability.

The first research report in the series is entitled An analysis of eviction cases in the Johannesburg Central Magistrate’s Court and their compliance with the law. It analyses eviction cases in 12 wards in the inner city of Johannesburg and its immediate periphery litigated at the Johannesburg Central Magistrate’s Court between 2013 and 2018 and asks whether eviction applications have been examined through the just and equitable lens, as the legislation requires.  

Even with a relatively small sample, the report makes important findings about: the extent to which evictions law is being followed in the adjudication of cases; whether consideration is being given to the personal circumstances of those being evicted and potential homelessness that might ensue; the reasons why people are being evicted; and the legal representation of respondents. The findings illustrate that a more hands-on approach from the judiciary in adjudicating eviction applications is essential to ensure that the legal protections from arbitrary evictions offered to the poor and vulnerable are realised.

According to Nomzamo Zondo, executive director of SERI: “The right of access to adequate housing is undoubtedly the most fiercely contested and frequently litigated socio-economic right in South Africa. This has led to the development of a wealth of progressive jurisprudence in respect of housing and evictions law. This report provides a deep insight into how the wealth of jurisprudence is applied in the magistrates’ courts and whether our country’s constitutional imperative reaches the lives of ordinary people.”

 

When: Wednesday, 23 March 2022; 15h00-16h30 via zoom

Register herehttps://bit.ly/35Rfr9o

 

Contact details: 

  • Yvonne Erasmus, SERI senior researcher: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 083 518 3870.
  • Nerishka Singh, SERI candidate attorney: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 072 822 1569.

Download the statement here.

SERI Press statement KAAX FINALSERI acts for Kopanang African Against Xenophobia (KAAX), an anti-xenophobia movement. In response to the recent surge in xenophobic movements and rhetoric, KAAX organized a series of national marches scheduled to take place on Human Rights Day, 21 March, to express a public rejection of xenophobia.  KAAX sees the growing xenophobic rhetoric and activities as inimical to the Constitution and a threat to already marginalised groups in society.

The marches in other urban centres are going ahead on Human Rights Day. However, on 17 March 2022, the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) prohibited the Johannesburg march, despite KAAX’s adherence to the notification process stipulated under the Regulation of Gatherings Act 205 of 1993 (RGA). The main reasons for prohibiting the march appear to be that other groups, such as Operation Dudula, pose a threat to those intending to march against xenophobia and because one such group has issued fake pamphlets relating to KAAX’s planned march to mislead the public regarding the purpose of the march. KAAX has previously issued statements identifying and disclaiming the fake pamphlet.

The prohibition of the KAAX anti-xenophobia march comes in the wake of recent marches by xenophobic groupings, including Operation Dudula and #PutSouthAfricansFirst, with apparent approval from JMPD and the South African Police Services (SAPS). Disturbing media reports allege that police authorities have been conducting raids and arrests targeted at undocumented foreign nationals during some of these demonstrations.

On 18 March, SERI launched an urgent application in the Johannesburg High Court to overturn the prohibition. The matter is set to be heard on Tuesday, 22 March 2022 or when allocated for hearing by the court. The application seeks to have the decision to prohibit the march set aside in order for the march to take place on the rescheduled date of 26 March 2022.

It will be argued that the prohibition issued by the JMPD fails to comply with the RGA. The reasons provided for the prohibition by the JMPD are unclear, inconsistent with the RGA and the Constitution and provide no reasonable or lawful basis to prohibit the march. It will be argued that the reasons given by the JMPD do not justify prohibiting the anti-xenophobia march.

Contact details: 

  • Asenati Tukela, Attorney: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 078 684 7658
  • Nerishka Singh, Candidate Attorney: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 072 822 1569

Download the statement here.

MARIKANA COVER JACANA scaled

On Wednesday, 23 March 2022, Jacana media will host a virtual launch for a new book by Julian Brown entitled "Marikana: A People’s History". The book comes as this year marks 10 years since the Marikana massacre. The online launch will consist of a conversation between Julian Brown and SERI's Nomzamo Zondo, moderated by Amandla.mobi's Koketso Moeti.

The book is the first that tells the story of Marikana from the perspective of the striking miners themselves. The book locates the strike within the context of South Africa's history of racial and economic exclusion and tells the story of how the strike unfolded by drawing from interviews with the striking mineworkers and their families. The book also provides an analysis of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, from a perspective that centres the mineworkers and their experiences. 

"The Marikana families have long awaited a story which reflects their lives before and after the massacre with honesty and depth. This is that story" - Nomzamo Zondo

IAJ SANEF webinar flyer 24FEB

In February, SERI’s Nomzamo Zondo participated in a webinar panel discussion on media coverage of commissions in South Africa. The webinar was the last in the webinar series entitled ‘Reporting the Courts’ jointly hosted by the South African Editors Forum and the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism. Nomzamo spoke alongside Bongiwe Gambu (spokesperson for the Jiba Commission); Erin Bates (legal writer for the Business Day) and Advocate Paul Pretorius (State Capture Commission). The aim of the webinar series was to accompany the relaunch of the Reporting the Courts Manual.

Nomzamo reflected on SERI's experience of participating in the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, representing the families of the miners killed. In her inputs, Nomzamo discussed the importance of ensuring that the public is kept abreast of developments in Commissions to ensure greater public scrutiny, transparency and to justify the use of public funds. For example, the Marikana Commission of Inquiry cost the public R153 million. She emphasised the need for media coverage of commissions to centre victims in any ongoing investigations and reporting and to keep victims on the public agenda. Nomzamo also discussed the importance of adopting a 'long-haul' approach and for media houses to invest in consistent attendance by journalists and not just the attendance of headlining testimony, to build vast public knowledge of the range of matters considered by a particular Commission. She argued that consistent attendance helps to create trust and build relationships with victims groups. 

ICF Workshop

On 21 – 23 February, SERI hosted a paralegal workshop for the Inner City Federation on eviction law and rights. The workshop was attended by 15 members and leaders of the ICF. The three day workshop sought to train ICF leaders on the use of the law in defending socio-economic rights, educate participants on PIE rights and how to assist others to resist illegal evictions in the inner city and educate participants on the court process and drafting court papers. 

The ICF is a coalition of low-income tenants and unlawful occupiers in inner city Johannesburg, who have either been forcibly evicted or live under the threat of eviction. Since it’s formation in 2015, number of tenants and unlawful occupiers who are affiliated with the ICF has grown to include over 50 buildings

The three-day workshop provided participants with practical examples of defending against an illegal eviction, equipped them with the basics of representing themselves in court and guided them on how to draft various court papers. 

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