On Thursday 13 December Lawyers for Human Rights will oppose an application in the Pretoria High Court on behalf of a large group of waste pickers or recyclers. The recyclers are facing imminent eviction from their homes where they have lived for periods ranging from a few weeks to over 16 years. Their accommodation is made of modest shelters constructed out of plastic sheets and cardboard. They occupy a small portion of land located on West Avenue just opposite the Supersport Park cricket stadium in Centurion. The property is also known as Mushroomville or the old mushroom farm. Turnover Trading 191 (Pty) Ltd, the owner of the property, has brought an application against the City of Tshwane to declare that Tshwane has breached its constitutional obligations towards the property owners and towards the recyclers. The second part of the application seeks an eviction order against the recyclers. Turnover Trading’s argument is that Tshwane’s failure to secure alternative accommodation for the recyclers is a violation of the recyclers’ constitutional rights to access to adequate housing in terms of section 26(2) of the constitution. This case is not simply about whether emergency accommodation will be provided once an eviction order is granted. It is about the livelihoods of dozens of desperate people who have migrated internally and from neighbouring countries. Recyclers are entrepreneurs who are trying to make a living and they will naturally reside near places with high economic activity and where their clientele can easily access their services. They collect recyclable waste from households and small to medium industries on a daily basis. The IDPs, budgets, policies and by laws of municipalities such as the City of Tshwane have adopted an anti-poor stance towards people such as the Mushroomville recyclers. Municipalities fail to address their needs and it is disappointing that they make every effort to try and push them out of the metropolitan city centres. The recyclers have tried numerous times to engage with Tshwane to the point of submitting a written proposal on how to support their ec The right to access to adequate is one of the most contentious rights in our constitution but it is not at the centre of the matter. We are hoping that the court will dismiss the application and allow the recyclers to engage with Tshwane on the proposed long term integration plan.

For further information please contact Hlengiwe Mtshatsha, Land and Housing Programme on 012 320 2943


Louise du Plessis on 012 320 2943, Land and Housing Programme Manager on 012 320 2943