PRESS STATEMENT | Farm Allandale Evictions Ruled Unlawful by Court

Date: 29/08/2023

In a pivotal court decision, the recent series of evictions undertaken by the City of Johannesburg (COJ) and the MMC for Human Settlements in Gauteng, on Farm Allandale, have been declared unlawful and unconstitutional.

A community of 836 members, including adults and children, represented by Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), contested the evictions. Backed by substantial evidence in the form of photographs and videos, they showcased the demolished dwellings and personal losses experienced due to the evictions.

Commenting on the decision, Louise Du Plessis stated, “These clients are a reflection of our community, people who came to Gauteng from Limpopo and other places early in the 1990s and are still living in inhumane informal settlements. We hope this judgement will not only prevent further unlawful evictions but also serve as a reminder to all public bodies about their duty to uphold the Constitution, thereby promoting a more just and inclusive society.”

The court’s ruling emphasized the constitutional human rights of the residents. The presiding judge noted, “These people have human rights as contained in the Bill of Rights and protected in the Constitution. They are not invisible social outcasts or nuisances.”

The COJ has now been directed to restore the status quo of the Applicants by constructing emergency temporary accommodations for those who lost their homes. If they fail to do so within the stipulated 72-hour window, they are mandated to pay R1 500 per shack to the affected families, enabling them to undertake the restorations independently. Furthermore, the court has barred any future evictions without a proper eviction order.

The court’s decision was firm, highlighting the duty to infuse “elements of grace and compassion into the formal structure of the law.” A punitive cost order has also been levied against the Respondents, citing the lack of evidence showcasing compassion and grace during the proceedings.

This ruling is not just a win for the residents of Farm Allandale but a clarion call to all entities, reminding them of the human touch essential in the dispensation of justice. This victory serves as a testament to the resilience of communities and the critical role that organizations like LHR play in ensuring that justice is meted out fairly.

For inquiries:

Louise Du Plessis, Head of the LHR Land, Housing & Property Rights Programme


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