Court victory for Durban shack dwellers

2015-08-21 12:08

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Durban - The president of a shack dwellers organisation has welcomed a High Court order that prevents authorities from evicting people without a court eviction order.

“This means that the evictions that took place between 2013 and 2014 in Cato Crest and Sisonke Village in Lamontville were carried out unlawfully," Abahlali baseMjondolo president Sbu Zikode said.

“It also means that Human Settlement MEC Ravi Pillay’s eviction order, which was basically an interdict used to evict people, was also unlawful.”

Zikode said this was a victory for all shack dwellers and homeless people around South Africa.

“It also means that the state will no longer continue to be a law unto itself. The government must respect people without adequate homes, because the law applies to all who live on the land.

'Illegal, immoral and criminal'

“All shack dwellers now have the right to resist and defend their homes if officials want to evict them without a High Court eviction order.

“If they evict you, it will be illegal, immoral and criminal. You must say no,” said Zikode.

On Thursday, Judge Fikile Mokgohloa handed down a judgment in a case against the KZN Human Settlement MEC, eThekwini Municipality and others.

The Socio Economic Rights Institute (SERI), which represented the organisation, said in a statement the judge struck down a temporary court order that had been used by the MEC and the municipality to evict thousands of poor people from informal settlements in Durban.

The MEC claimed that the order was used to prevent land invasions, but SERI argued “that the order was intended to progressively remove the occupants of more than 1 500 parcels of open land in Durban without having to follow normal court procedures or give notice to the occupants”.

National implications

Nomzamo Zondo, director of litigation at SERI said the judgment had national implications.

“It represents a significant step towards achieving a more just dispensation for people who feel the burden of inequality most in South Africa.”

Responding to the judgment, Pillay said he took land invasion seriously and the government would not abandon its constitutional responsibility to prevent it.

"While respecting all judgments, we disagree with certain factual conclusions in the judgment.  It also seems that there is a difficulty in defining the dividing line between stopping land invasion and effecting an eviction...”

The United Front said it celebrates the judgment. “Until now the MEC has been using the interim interdict to evict hundreds of families using brutal police methods.

“Thanks to the dedicated struggle of Abahlali baseMjondolo, SERI and the Legal Resources Centre, this victory has been won,” said interim national secretary Mazibuko Jara.

Read more on:    durban  |  housing

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.