For Immediate Release: Thursday, 15th October 2009
The Black Sash applauds yesterday’s Constitutional Court ruling that Section 16 of the Slums Act - that would have allowed mass evictions in KwaZulu-Natal - was “inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid.”
The Black Sash has always argued that unless the State complies with its Constitutional obligation (section 26 (2) of the Constitution) to progressively realise the right to access housing, eviction orders shouldn’t be granted against people who would be rendered homeless as a result.
Regional Director for the Black Sash in KwaZulu-Natal, Evashnee Naidu, insists Section 16 of the Slums Act was an unreasonable and retrogressive measure that exceeded the powers of provincial government. “It was fundamentally irreconcilable with national legislation and threatened to infringe on the basic rights of the poorest and most vulnerable people in our province. I hope this judgement sends a very clear message to all the other provinces that might try to copy this law particularly in their haste to ‘clean up’ before the World Cup.”
The Black Sash believes this judgement is particularly important as it reminds us all of the Constitutional obligations that need to be upheld while we deal with the challenges posed by rapid urbanisation in South Africa. The Black Sash has noted with concern the recent UN report (Habitat’s 2008/9 State of the World’s Cities Report – see below for link) which concluded that South African cities are amongst the most unequal in the world - more unequal than those in Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala and Mexico. This should ring alarm bells for all of us, as this lack of social cohesion in our most densely populated areas, has contributed to violence in the past and is likely to do so again if we don’t do something urgently to address the gross imbalance which persists between people and the communities in which they live.
Here is the link to Habitat’s 2008/9 State of the World’s Cities Report –http://www.unhabitat.org/content.asp?cid=5979&catid=5&typeid=6&subMenuId=0
For interviews, please contact:
Black Sash Regional Director: KwaZulu-Natal
Cell: 084-430 6133
Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager
Cell: 072-382 8175