Forced removals and evictions could create a cycle of illegal squatting in SA

Recent evictions across the country have once again called into question the practice of forced removals and the issue of access to adequate housing in South Africa.

Stuart Wilson, Executive Director of the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI), says that we need to change our perspective when considering illegal squatters across the country.

It’s no good to berate people as land invaders. That’s not the way to frame the issue. The way to frame issue is this massive need for land that simply isn't being met, despite the best efforts of many organs of state.

Although the government has invested in subsidised housing programmes, many South Africans can't afford adequate housing and face the on-going risk of eviction by occupying backyard dwellings, informal settlements and "slum buildings".

In the inner city of Joburg alone, about half of the people living there can’t afford market-related rent.

Four facts that may put illegal land occupation into perspective, according to Wilson:

  • 80 percent of the population was confined to 20 percent of the land during apartheid
  • Between 1994 and 2004 a million people were evicted from commercial farm land in the country
  • Urban migration is at a rate of two percent a year in South Africa
  • In 2014 unemployment was the highest ever since the end of Apartheid

Marlboro forced removals. Image courtesy of Eyewitness News.

A vicious cycle of illegal occupation

The forced removals in one place means unlawful occupation somewhere else, unless the state provides accommodation. Temporary settlements tend to turn into permanent housing for lack of a sustainable plan by the state to keep them temporary.

Stuart Wilson

The Informal Settlement Network's (ISN) Sipho Vanga says that the latest Marlboro Gardens evictees are scattered all over. He says some are sleeping outside while others have occupied warehouses.

Vanga says that ISN is trying to identify land in the municipality and is attempting to get a tented temporary accommodation for the vulnerable evictees.

Temporary housing tends to become permanent

In 2012 Marlboro residents were also forcibly removed and some are still without accommodation, despite a ruling by the Constitutional Court for the Department of Human Settlement to offer alternative housing.

Until today, some of them are still squatting in old buildings and we are afraid as ISN that they will be evicted again.

Joseph in Diepsloot told CapeTalk/702's Africa Melane that he was forcibly removed in 2007 in Dainfern and has been living in temporary accommodation since. Lwandle evictee Nomapheli Pupu says that new occupiers are making living conditions difficult in the relocation area, Siyanyazela.

Watch the EWN video covering the current living conditions of evictees in Blikkiesdorp, which was intended as temporary settlement for those evicted from various township dwellings in Cape Town since 2007.

Lwandle forced removals. Image courtesy of Eyewitness News.

Recent cases of forced removals

Marlboro

Last week, in Marlboro, Gauteng, a group of people who had been previously evicted from a low cost housing project they had occupied illegally in Alexandra were to be forcibly removed from their current place of occupation at the local stadium.

According to the city of Joburg they had been served eviction notices almost three weeks ago and they had no other choice to remove the group because the stadium is not an ideal place for people to live.

Watch the EWN video covering the latest Marlboro evictions.

Lwandle

Hundreds of shack dwellers from Lwandle, in Strand just outside of Cape Town, were evicted last year. The construction of alternative accommodation for those evicted has now ceased, and left dozens of evictees homeless according to reports by GroundUp.

Watch the EWN video covering the Lwandle forced removals.

Housing as a human right

According to Wilson, the Constitutional Court has previously ruled that evictions that lead to homelessness are generally unlawful, yet evictions still take place without alternative accommodation or long term solutions in place. Poor people are often unable to challenge court orders because they do not have access to legal representation.

Listen to the full conversation with CapeTalk/702's Africa Melane below:


Read More
NDZ loses out on 27 votes ahead of ANC elective conference

NDZ loses out on 27 votes ahead of ANC elective conference

Political analyst Karima Brown says the ANC may have to recount votes and delay the announcement of president at the conference.

'Zuma's judgments reveal how he has attempted to defend the indefensible'

'Zuma's judgments reveal how he has attempted to defend the indefensible'

Eusebius Mckaiser spoke to journalist Karyn Maughan and law professor James Grant about Zuma and the role of the law in politics.

"We had nothing to do with the evictions" - Maboneng Precinct developers

"We had nothing to do with the evictions" - Maboneng Precinct developers

Housing MMC at the City of Johannesburg, says they are doing everything in their power to solve the situation at Jeppestown

Mayor of Cape Town confirms cancellation of Mfuleni housing project

Mayor of Cape Town confirms cancellation of Mfuleni housing project

After three years, Mfuleni housing project is cancelled. Mayor blames people with political agendas.

Solving global housing challenges

Solving global housing challenges

Aromar Revi from the Indian Institute for Human Settlements joined John in studio ahead of his public lecture at UCT, to talk about global housing challenges.

Ramaphosa doesn't have authority to announce ban on farm evictions

Ramaphosa doesn't have authority to announce ban on farm evictions

Prof Ruth Hall from PLAAS weighs in on comments made over the weekend by the Deputy President on implementing a moratorium on farm evictions.

Popular articles
This tech institute forges top coding talent in SA - for free

This tech institute forges top coding talent in SA - for free

WeThinkCode funds top human talent with the potential to become the future coders of SA, despite their background or experience.

Dr Mbuyiseni Ndlozi opens up about his thesis

Dr Mbuyiseni Ndlozi opens up about his thesis

Ndlozi explains the significance of the the first chapter of his thesis: 'Trauma in the archives'.

German prosecutors probing Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste (for accounting fraud)

German prosecutors probing Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste (for accounting fraud)

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Steinhoff International Chairperson Christo Wiese.

Happy 50th birthday, Pick n Pay (congrats on growing your bottom line by 18%)!

Happy 50th birthday, Pick n Pay (congrats on growing your bottom line by 18%)!

50 years ago the retailer started out when Raymond Ackerman bought three tiny stores from Click founder Jack Goldin.

So what exactly is radical economic transformation?

So what exactly is radical economic transformation?

Wits associate professor of economics Christopher Malikane speaks to Azania Mosaka about the term that is being bandied about.

Is it normal to have a curved penis? Dr Shingai explains

Is it normal to have a curved penis? Dr Shingai explains

Urologist Dr Shingai Mutambirwa says penile curvature is only a concern if it impedes a man's ability to have penetrative sex.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's simply did not do her job as  AU chair - analyst

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's simply did not do her job as AU chair - analyst

Analysts weigh-in with very different views on Dlamini Zuma's failures and achievements as chairperson of the African Union.

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

The EFF lawyer stole the show during the state capture report court battle.

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

WIN R2000! But only if you can prove you're a whiz of the MTN Biz Quiz by answering the following three questions...

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Is social trend Blesserfinder, where girls are allegedly matching up with rich 'benefactors' in exchange for sex, a real thing?