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Rosettenville residents defend eviction continuing during lockdown

- Lee-Anne Bruce

CALS represents a group of residents from Rosettenville who will be left homeless if an eviction order is granted against them on Monday 1 February

On Monday 1 February, the High Court in Johannesburg is set to hear an evictions case affecting a group of residents from Rosettenville. The residents, represented by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, include women and children who would be left homeless if the eviction were granted. We argue that this would not be in the interests of justice, especially in the context of the current pandemic.

The Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) represents a group of residents from Rosettenville, Johannesburg, who have faced eviction from their homes three times in the last four years. During that time, they have had limited to no access to water and electricity. The most recent eviction application against them will be heard on Monday 1 February by the High Court in Johannesburg.

We understand that there are many competing rights and interests in a matter like this one. The owners of a property have the right to use and access that property. Yet, the law around evictions is clear: no-one may be evicted from their home if they will be left homeless. In this case, our clients have been left particularly vulnerable after losing their income as a result of the pandemic and lockdown measures. They would not be able to afford other accommodation, and the City of Johannesburg has so far been unable to ensure that they would be granted emergency housing.

We are therefore asking the Court not to grant the eviction, or to grant it only on condition that alternative accommodation can be found for the residents who would otherwise be left homeless.

“Being evicted from your home inevitably affects your right to dignity,” says Vuyolethu Mntonintshi from CALS. “Being evicted onto the street has a further impact on many other rights like freedom and security and the rights of children to shelter and protection. Being evicted during a pandemic infringes in addition on the right to health and even the right to life.”

The matter is set to be heard virtually by the High Court in Johannesburg on Monday, 1 February.

Read more in our papers here

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