South Africa

Primary tabs


This case was brought as an abstract review[1] by the Abahlali BaseMjondolo Movement (Abahlali), a voluntary association which acts in the interests of several thousand people living in informal dwellings in South Africa. Abahlali argued that section 16 of the KwaZulu-Natal Elimination and Prevention of Re-emergence of Slums Act ("the Slums Act"), which authorized provincial government officials to issue a notice directing that eviction proceedings be instituted by owners and local municipalities against informal settlements, was unconstitutional.

The South African Constitutional Court was asked to decide whether tenants of a block of flats were entitled to notice before the municipal electricity utility, City Power, disconnected their supply. The tenants paid for their electricity to the owner of the property, and despite their regular payment, the owner allowed substantial arrears to run up on the account, and City Power disconnected the property, giving the owner, but not the tenants, notice.

The case was brought by two women who had borrowed minimal sums of money (about 27 and 35 US dollars respectively), had been charged significant interest and fell behind on their payments. This led to the sale and execution of their houses. The applicants argued that legislation permitting the sale in execution of people's homes due to non-payment of trifling debts removed their security of tenure and violated their right to access to adequate housing recognized in section 26 of the Constitution. The law in question was sections 66(1)(a) and 67 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 32 of 1944.

Aproximadamente 20.000 ocupantes del asentamiento informal Joe Slovo de Ciudad del Cabo apelaron a la Corte Constitucional para que dejara sin efecto una orden de desalojo dictada por el Tribunal Superior (High Court). El desalojo había sido solicitado por los Ministerios de Vivienda Nacionales y Provinciales, y por una empresa constructora de viviendas contratada para implementar el desarrollo de viviendas para familias de bajos ingresos en el lugar donde se encontraba emplazado el asentamiento informal.

Approximately 20,000 occupiers of the Joe Slovo informal settlement in Cape Town appealed to the Constitutional Court to set aside an order for their eviction granted by the High Court. The eviction had been sought by the National and Provincial Ministers of Housing and a housing company contracted to implement a development of formal housing for low-income families at the site of the informal settlement. While the housing company tendered that they would provide temporary accommodation for the occupiers in Delft, 15 kilometres away, no permanent housing was guaranteed.

Cinco residentes de Phiri, en Soweto, demandaron a la ciudad de Johannesburgo, Johannesburg Water (una empresa de propiedad de la ciudad) y al Ministerio Nacional de Agua y Silvicultura.

Five residents of Phiri in Soweto brought a case against the City of Johannesburg, Johannesburg Water (a company wholly owned by the City) and the national Minister for Water Affairs and Forestry. There were two key questions at issue.

La ciudad de Johannesburgo buscaba desalojar a hombres, mujeres y niños de dos edificios en el centro de la ciudad de Berea. Esta medida formaba parte de una política general de evacuación formulada bajo la Estrategia de Regeneración del Centro de la Ciudad de Johannesburgo, en la que los desalojos se llevaban a cabo de noche y sin aviso previo, conforme a leyes y disposiciones del régimen del Apartheid. La ciudad adujo que las condiciones de vida no eran higiénicas y creaban peligros de incendio, pero se negó a ofrecer a los ocupantes viviendas alternativas.

The City of Johannesburg sought to evict men, women and children from two buildings in Berea, in the inner city. This was part of an overall clearance policy under the Johannesburg Inner City Regeneration Strategy, in which evictions have been carried out in the middle of the night and without notice, under Apartheid-era laws and regulations. The city alleged that the living conditions are unhygienic and constitute a fire hazard, but had refused to offer the occupiers alternative accommodation.

The claimant, Thiagraj Soobramoney, suffered from chronic renal failure (among other diseases) and was in dire need of renal dialysis in order to stave off death. When he ran out of personal funds with which to pay private providers, he sought service in Addington Hospital, a state-funded hospital in Durban. The hospital refused Soobramoney treatment because his general physical condition did not qualify him for treatment under the criteria or guidelines used by the hospital to determine eligibility for such treatments.