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[PRESS CONFERENCE] SERI represents IEJ and #PTG in challenging unfair exclusion of millions from SRD grant (26 July 2023).

PTG ConferenceThe Institute for Economic Justice (IEJ), #PayTheGrants (#PTG), and the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI) will hold a hybrid press conference on Thursday, 27 July 2023 at 10:00am to announce the launch of a court case aimed at addressing the unfair exclusion of millions of people from the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant.

The press conference will address the regulations that govern the value of the R350 SRD grant eligibility criteria and application procedures, as well as the manner in which the grant has been implemented. It will show how millions of people have been excluded, violating their right to social assistance and food, contained in section 27 of the Constitution.

SERI Executive Director, Nomzamo Zondo, IEJ Executive Director, Gilad Isaacs, #PTG Deputy Chair, Elizabeth Raiters, and two SRD grant applicants directly impacted by these regulations, Joleen Sampson and Vanessa Reece will address the press conference.

Please find the details for attending the press conference below:

Date: Thursday, 27 July 2023

Time: 10:00am

Venue: IEJ Offices, 3rd Floor, 62 Juta Street, Braamfontein

Zoom: Register and join

We look forward to your participation and engagement.

  • Download the full invitation here for further information and contact details. 

[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.

[PRESS STATEMENT] Durban Magistrate's Court reaches guilty verdict in Ayanda Ngila's murder trial (19 July 2023).

Presser Ngila guilty verdictOn Monday, 17 July 2023, Khayalihle Gwabuzela (known as Khaya Ngubane)  was found guilty of the murder of Ayanda Ngila, deputy chairperson of Abahlali baseMjondolo’s eKhenana branch. The Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI) welcomes the Court’s decision as a significant step towards achieving justice and fostering healing for the family of Ayanda Ngila, as well as for the entire eKhenana Commune and the Abahlali baseMjondolo movement. Khaya Ngubane’s sentencing has been set down for 24 July 2023.

Ayanda Ngila was the first of four Abahlali baseMjondolo members killed in 2022, during a wave of repression targeted at the movement. He was gunned down on 8 March 2022 at the eKhenana Commune in Cato Manor, eThekwini by gunmen led by Khaya Ngubane. Ngila was 30 years old at the time of his death. He played a vital role in eKhenana’s communal projects and served as a respected leader in Abahlali baseMjondolo.

The verdict is an encouraging indication that those who perpetrate violence and attempt to stifle the voices of marginalised communities will be held accountable for their actions. While the pain of losing a loved one can never be fully alleviated, knowing that justice has been served can provide some closure and comfort to those affected by this tragedy.

SERI remains mindful of the deaths of Siyabonga Manqele, who was allegedly shot and killed by masked police officers on 11 March 2022 in eNkanini settlement; Nokuthula Mabaso, who was shot and killed on 5 May 2022 in eKhenana; and Lindokuhle Mnguni, who was also shot and killed in eKhenana on 20 August 2022. While the verdict may be a step towards accountability for these attacks, we call upon the relevant authorities to expedite the prosecution process in the cases of Manqele, Mabaso, and Mnguni to ensure that justice is served in these cases as well.

Abahlali has faced widespread repression and targeted assassinations: since 2009 it has lost 24 members to targeted assassinations and excessive force by the police. As a result, many of its leaders have had to leave their homes and go into hiding for their safety. The finding in Ngila’s murder is the second case of the 24 to have resulted in a successful prosecution. Recently, the South African Human Rights Commission sent a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa calling for high-level intervention to investigate the assassinations of Abahlali members. SERI calls for the protection of movement leaders and individuals associated with Abahlali baseMjondolo facing intimidation, violence, and repression.

SERI continues to stand in solidarity with the family of Ayanda Ngila, the community of eKhenana, and the Abahlali baseMjondolo movement as a whole. We echo their calls for justice for other fallen leaders.


  • Download the full statement here.

[SUBMISSION] SERI makes a submission on the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development’s Provincial Strategy on Unlawful Occupation of Land and Buildings (12 July 2023).

On 30 June 2023, SERI made a submission on the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development’s Provincial Strategy on Unlawful Occupation of Land and Buildings. SERI’s submission cautions against the use of pejorative terms in describing unlawful occupiers, draws attention to the need for a multi-faceted and multi-dimensional approach to understanding the problem, an highlights the importance of focusing on the needs of those individuals who are most in need of housing. SERI’s submission further outlines our commitment to engaging with the provincial government about the management of unauthorised land occupations. 

  • Download the full submission here


[SUBMISSION] SERI makes a submission to on draft norms and standards for Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA) (30 June 2023).

SPLUMA norms and standards

On 19 June 2023, SERI made a submission on the draft norms and standards for the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA) following a call by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development for all stakeholders and interested persons to submit written inputs on the draft norms and standards in terms of section 8 of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Act. 

The objective of the draft norms and standards are to "promote social inclusion, spatial equity, efficient settlement patterns, rural revitalization, urban regeneration and sustainable development". They have been developed to "promote a normative approach that will ensure wise use of land" and to "enable spatial planning and land use management to be undertaken in a manner that is responsive to the varying landscape of municipal capacities throughout the country."

SERI welcomes the development of the SPLUMA norms and standards and submits comments that suggest ways for the Department to better align them with the provisions of the Constitution. Amongst these, is to include the incorporation of sections 25(5), 25(6), and 26(3) which establish rights to equitable access to land, secure tenure, and guarantee everyone a right against eviction from or to have their homes demolished without a court order and prohibit any legislation that may permit arbitrary eviction. SERI submits these are key to explicitly include as any review of the legal framework would be incomplete without it. 

  • Access the submission here.