On 27 November 2017, SERI filed heads of argument in an application for leave to appeal the judgment of the Durban High Court that dismissed an informal settlement resident's damages claim for the injuries he sustained while protecting his shack from being illegally demolished by a security officer in the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality's land invasion unit, as well as the destruction of his shack.

In this case, SERI represents Nkosinathi Mngomezulu, a resident of Cato Crest informal settlement in Durban, who claims damages for the physical injuries he sustained when a security officer in the municipality's land invasion unit shot him in the stomach four times, as well as for the unlawful destruction of his shack and his unlawful arrest and detention on charges of assault and attempted murder. The claims are based on the municipality's land invasion unit's illegal demolition of Mngomezulu and various other Cato Crest residents' shacks in September 2013. At the time, a series of court orders restrained the municipality from evicting any person or demolishing any shack at Cato Crest informal settlement (see the Mzimela case). While physically resisting this demolition, Mngomezulu was shot four times by a security officer in the municipality's land invasion unit. Then, after recovering for more than three months in hospital, Mngomezulu was arrested and detained initially on charges of assault and later on charges of atttempted murder.

The Durban High Court upheld Mngomezulu's claim for unlawful arrest and detention, ordering the Minister of Safety and Security to compensate Mngomezulu for the infringement of his rights, but dismissed Mngomezulu's claim for personal injury and the unlawful destruction of his shack. SERI, on behalf of Mngomezulu, applied for leave to appeal this decision on the basis that the court's finding that an informal settlement resident does not have a home in an informal settlement because he or she cannot give a precise address is naive to the realities faced by poor and vulnerable people in South Africa, and that the court's finding that Mngomezulu “violated the rule of law” by defending himself against an illegal eviction cannot be legally supported.

The application for leave to appeal was argued in the Durban High Court on 29 November 2017. On this day, Judge Pillay granted leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

  • Read the Heads of Argument (27 November 2017) here.
  • Read more about the case here.