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[OP-ED] Lauren Royston, Siyabonga Mahlangu and Thapelo Mohapi write about the New White Paper on Human Settlements (31 May 2024).

Screenshot 2024 05 31 at 12.10.28On 30 May 2024, the Daily Maverick published an op-ed co-authored by SERI's Lauren Royston, the Inner City Federation’s Siyabonga Mahlangu and Abahlali BaseMjondolo’s Thapelo Mohapi entitled, ' New white paper on human settlements threatens a core constitutional right’ 

The op-ed critically examines the newly released Housing White Paper, highlighting both its procedural shortcomings and substantive concerns regarding housing rights in South Africa.

The authors argue that although the White Paper begins with general principles that affirm the constitutional mandate, it ends with a recommendation to review the Prevention of Illegal Eviction and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998 (PIE Act). This is particularly troubling as the recommendation is buried in a section where it seems out of place:

“Unlawful development must be discouraged severely. This entails reviewal (sic) of the PIE Act which requires alternative accommodation for illegal occupation of land.”

The authors conclude that: 

As the 30 years of democracy commemorations abound, we might imagine that more progress would have been made on the desperate need for housing and land faced by a large proportion of the population.

Instead, we have a draft White Paper that threatens a core constitutional right.

  • Read the op-ed here
  • Access SERI, Abahlali baseMjondolo and the Inner City Federation comments on the White Paper can be found here.