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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

Abahlali baseMjondolo and 52 Others v Minister of Police and Others ('Kennedy Road')

damages claim - Kennedy Road informal settlement - police - eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality

SERI, together with Nichols Attorneys in Durban and Mdladlamba Attorneys in Johannesburg, are assisting former residents of the Kennedy Road informal settlement in Durban to pursue damages claims against the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality.

Until 26, 27 and 28 September 2009, the residents lived at the Kennedy Road Informal Settlement, 286 Kennedy Road, Clare Estate, Durban. During the nights of 26 and 27 September 2009 and the morning of 28 September 2009, the residents and their families were attacked by an armed gang. They were targeted because of their association with the Kennedy Road Development Committee (KRDC), a local community-based organisation, and with Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM), a national movement of shackdwellers.

Over a period of several hours on both nights, they were sought out and intimidated into leaving the informal settlement. Their homes were destroyed and their possessions were stolen. The residents were rendered homeless and destitute.

Before and during these attacks, the residents sought the assistance of officers of the South African Police Services (SAPS) based at Sydenham Police Station and the eThekwini Metropolitan Police Department (EMPD). After initially refusing to come to the residents’ assistance, the SAPS and EMPD officers attended at the scene, but did nothing to protect them from the gang. SAPS and EMPD officers looked on as the residents were expelled from their homes and their homes were destroyed. No effort was made to intervene or to protect them, their homes, or their possessions. The SAPS and EMPD officers were negligent in failing to do so.

The residents gave notice of their intention to pursue a damages claim in terms of section 3 of the Institution of Legal Proceedings Against Certain Organs of State Act 40 of 2002. They are represented by advocates Stuart Wilson, Heidi Barnes and Daniel Berger SC as their counsel. On 25 September 2012, a Summons and Particulars of Claim were served and filed in the Durban High Court.

  • SERI media statement (27 September 2012) here.
  • Summons and Particulars of Claim (25 September 2012) here.