LHR in the SCA to fight for the rights of the homeless

Today, Monday 10 September 2018, Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) will be at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein to appeal against the judgement of J Sutherland handed down in April 2017 in the Gauteng Local Division.


In the case of S Ngomane and 27 Others vs The City of Johannesburg and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police (‘JMPD’), the Land & Housing Unit of LHR acts on behalf of a community of 28 ordinary, destitute and homeless South Africans, who have been living under the R31 bridge on End Street, Johannesburg and who were the subject of Mayor Mashaba’s ‘clean-up’ operation on 1 February 2017. Under the guise of this ‘clean-up’ operation, the personal belongings and shelter materials of this community were confiscated, tossed into trucks and disposed of as ‘rubbish’ without any due process. Footage of the incident can be accessed on Facebook via the following link:



The Appellants will argue that the unlawful confiscation of this community’s shelter and belongings by the City of Johannesburg and the JMPD constituted not only an unlawful eviction, but also violated the following rights, amongst others, that the Applicants enjoy:


  • Their right not to be evicted and not to have their homes demolished without an order of court;
  • Their right not to be deprived of their property unlawfully;
  • Their right to dignity; and
  • Their right to adequate shelter.


LHR will ask the SCA to find the following: (a) that the occupation of the premises by the Appellants constitutes occupation within the provisions of the PIE Act and that the PIE Act is applicable; (b) that the structures used by the Appellants constituted their shelter and that the premises occupied by the Appellants are not a traffic island; and particularly important for the purposes of this case (c) that the Honourable Court crafts a novel remedy akin to that crafted in the case of Tswelopele Non-profit Organisation & others v City of Metropolitan Municipality & Others [2007] JOL 20003 (SCA) but extended to Section 25 of the Constitution.



For further information, please contact:

Louise du Plessis

Lawyers for Human Rights

Land and Housing Programme

012 320 2943 / 082 346 0744