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Assisting poor and marginalised groups to realise an adequate standard of living
Developing housing rights and basic services jurisprudence.
Ensuring pro-poor legal and policy frameworks and developing socio-economic rights jurisprudence
Ensuring pro-poor legal and policy frameworks and developing socio-economic rights jurisprudence

eThekwini interdicted from evicting Cato Crest residents (2 September 2013).

On 2 September 2013, an urgent interdict was granted by the Durban High Court preventing Thekwini Municipality from demolishing the homes of residents of Cato Crest informal settlement without a court order. On 1 and 2 September 2013 the municipality illegally demolished shacks at the settlement, in violation of an undertaking made to the Durban High Court on 22 August 2013 that it would halt evictions pending the finalisation of the application for a final order. Assisted by Abahlali baseCato Crest, a newly formed branch of Abahlali baseMjondolo, the residents went to the Durban High Court on an urgent basis to stop the evictions.

The court order obtained interdicts and restrains the municipality from evicting the named Cato Crest residents or demolishing their structures without a court order. It further orders the municipality to construct “temporary habitable dwellings that afford shelter, privacy and amenities at least equivalent to those destroyed, and which are capable of being dismantled, at the site at which their previous informal housing structures were demolished” to the residents whose shacks were demolished on 1 and 2 September.

Despite this interdict, the municipality continued to demolish shacks. The residents were forced to return to court on 6 September to apply for a contempt of court order. The judge granted a rule nisi (interim order) compelling the Municipal Manager of eThekwini Municipality and the Head of the municipality's Land Invasion Unit to appear at court on 12 September to explain why they should not be imprisoned for 30 days for allowing illegal evictions at Cato Crest in contempt of the order obtained on 2 September.

The residents were represented in court by SERI's correspondent in Durban, Nichols Attorneys, and Adv David Saks.

  • SERI press release (9 September 2013) here.
  • Rule nisi for contempt of court order (6 September 2013) here.
  • Read the SERI press release (2 September 2013) here.
  • Court order (2 September 2013) here.
  • Interim order (22 August 2013) here.
  • Read more on Cato Crest evictions here.

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SERI_RightsSA So where is everyone living if there is no affordable private market rental or social housing available? http://t.co/hakb4k1V57
SERI_RightsSA Social housing does NOT cater for this group, neither in terms of affordability nor supply http://t.co/BE6qLGSPNd
SERI_RightsSA And if this demand is broken down further, the following picture emerges about people's rental affordability levels http://t.co/79sN92lihQ
SERI_RightsSA A picture of rental housing demand in inner city Joburg, very similar to the nature of demand in Joburg as a whole http://t.co/aQRB9A7OoG
SERI_RightsSA RT @MokenaMakeka: @marrakurru @katetiss @NomalangaSA and most inner city housing is poor quality, unsafe... And expensive...and scarce.