[ICRC PRESS RELEASE] 26 November 2020
Department of Housing and Human Settlements and the Gauteng Government: ENOUGH with re-inventing the wheel! The housing crisis in Gauteng needs urgent intervention!!
The ICRC will march on 02 December 2020 to the offices of the Premier of Gauteng province and raise the alarm regarding the unsatisfactory manner with which the Department of Human Settlements in the city of Johannesburg is handling the double crisis: the crisis of housing combined with the health crisis.
South Africa is going through the worst public health emergency since the advent of democracy, the Coronavirus (COVID19). A disease whose prevention requires, among other things, a reliable access to adequate water and sanitation services. We, the residents, unemployed, street traders, workers and pensioners of dilapidated buildings, social housing flats, backyard and informal settlement dwellers in the city of Johannesburg and surrounding areas, find ourselves risking infection once again.
Communities were promised emergency water & sanitation services during COVID19 pandemic, to this day, most residents of informal settlements are still fetching water using buckets, somehow water tanks have disappeared.
The new minister of Housing and Human settlements is busy spending energy on “de-densification”, disregarding the history of commitments & policies of her Department with residents.
At our last protest action to the Department of Human Settlements in late November 2020, we highlighted a number of issues concerning access to affordable housing in Johannesburg and surrounding areas. The officials committed to building more space for dialogue and meaningful community engagement. On our part, we committed to working with the city authorities to find amicable resolutions as partners. However, processes were initiated and then abruptly stopped without any meaningful dialogue with us; the most affected. As a result, we find ourselves in the very same situation we were in, a year previously.
The above reasons inform our decision to escalate matters to the Provincial administration as there is clearly an ineptness afflicting the city administration. We appeal to the high office of the Premier to make an intervention regarding the lack of water and sanitation services for residents of Johannesburg and surrounding areas. As well as the general crisis of housing facing all Gauteng government departments and units responsible for provision of affordable and safe housing for the residents. This sector includes sectional title holders of inner-city flats, backyard and informal settlements, RDP housing applicants, residents of city flats subjected to draconian practices by private landlords, residents who were evicted from their homes and placed into temporary shelters, tenants of social housing that has become increasingly unaffordable.
Based on the above highlighted matters, the Inner City Resource centre along with the marginal residents of housing sectors listed above; will be marching on 02 December 2020 to deliver a memorandum to the Premier’s office detailing our grievances and list of demands. For more information, please contact Inner City Resource Centre: Shereza Sibanda: 011 492 1046/Molefi Ndlovu, cell:0735347962.
Johannesburg residents head to the constitutional court in their challenge to warrantless raid.
Today the Constitutional Court will hear the matter of The Residents of Industry House and Others v The Minister of Police and Others in which residents of 11 buildings in inner-city Johannesburg successfully challenged, in the High Court, the lawfulness and constitutionality of over 20 police raids of their homes.
During the raids, which were jointly conducted by the South African Police Services (SAPS), the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD), the Department of Home Affairs and the City of Johannesburg, officials forced the residents out of the buildings and onto the streets, sometimes in their nightdresses, where they were searched, finger-printed and commanded to produce copies of their identity documents, passports or asylum seekers’ permits.
In June 2020, the full bench of the High Court in Johannesburg delivered a judgment declaring section 13 (7) (c) of the South African Police Services Act 68 of 1995 (the SAPS Act) constitutionally invalid.
The residents have now approached the Constitutional Court to confirm the High Court order declaring section 13 (7) (c) of the SAPS Act constitutionally invalid and to appeal against the High Court judgment insofar as it declined to declare sections 13 (7) (a) and (b) of the SAPS Act unconstitutional. They also seek damages for the breach of their constitutional rights to privacy and dignity caused by the unlawful raids to which they were subjected. The residents are further seeking to interdict and restrain the police from searching their homes without an appropriate court order or warrant issued by a Magistrate or a Judge.
Khululiwe Bhengu, SERI attorney representing the residents, said “The confirmation and appeal application to the Constitutional Court is important to ensure the vindication of the residents’ rights to dignity and privacy and to emphasise that as much as the sanctity of a person’s home is important, the right to privacy does not end at a person’s door step.”
Download the full statement and learn more about the case in the link below | https://bit.ly/399djJN