South Africa

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Port Elizabeth Municipality filed an eviction application in response to a neighbourhood petition against 68 adults and children occupying shacks erected on privately owned land.  They had been living on this undeveloped land for between two to eight years and were willing to vacate the property subject to reasonable notice and suitable alternative land.

South Africa is in the midst of an HIV/AIDS epidemic with more than 6 million people infected.    In 2,000, with infections of newborns in the range of 80,000 per year, the anti-retroviral drug Nevirapine offered the potential of preventing the infection of 30 – 40,000 children per year.  The drug was offered to the Government for free for five years, but the South African Government announced it would introduce Mother-To-Child-Transmission (MTCT) only in certain pilot sites and would delay setting these up for a year, thereby denying most mothers access to treatment.  The Treatment Action

A community of squatters, evicted from an informal settlement in Wallacedene had set up minimal shelters of plastic and other materials at a sports centre adjacent to Wallacedene community centre. They lacked basic sanitation or electricity. The group brought an action under sections 26(the right of access to adequate housing) and 28 (children's right to basic shelter) of the South African Constitution for action by various levels of government.

The applicants were permanent residents in South Africa. They challenged legislative provisions, which limited entitlement to social grants for the aged to South African citizens, and would prevent children of non-South African citizens in the same position as the applicants from claiming any of the childcare grants available to South African children (regardless of the citizenship-status of the children themselves).  

The South African government decided to establish a transit camp on the grounds of the Leeuwkop Prison (state-owned land) for Alexandra Township flood victims. It was intended that the occupants would then move to permanent housing when it became available. The plan was apparently made without consultation with the residents in the area and a residents' association, Kyalami Ridge Environmental Association (KREA), requested that the relevant minister suspend operations.

Country: 
South Africa
Working Group(s) / Area(s) of Work: 
Women & ESCR
Corporate Accountability
Strategic Litigation
OP-ICESCR

The Bhe judgment concerned three related cases (Bhe, SAHRC and Shibi), which were decided together. In the first action, the father of applicants, Nonkuleleko and Anelisa Bhe (aged 9 and 2), had died, and the mother (the third applicant) brought an action to secure the deceased's property for her daughters. Under the African customary law rule of primogeniture as well as section 23 of the Black Administration Act, the house became the property of the eldest male relative of the father, in this case the grandfather.

Country: 
South Africa
Working Group(s) / Area(s) of Work: 
Corporate Accountability
Strategic Litigation