PRESS STATEMENT | LHR goes to court for legal recognition of customary family houses

Date: 29/04/2024

Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) has launched two new applications, one in the Johannesburg High Court and another in the Pretoria High Court, for legal recognition of the custom of the “family house” as part of our South African customary law.

It is common in South Africa that families have what they regard as a “family house”. This house is regarded as belonging to the family, and members of the family can move in and out of the family house based on their personal circumstances.  However, because the current law does not recognise the concept of a “family house,” most people find themselves homeless as the registered owner of the house ends up evicting fellow family members or selling the house while people are in it.

LHR has seen a number of these cases over the years and how vulnerable people including women and children are mostly affected, it is for this reason why LHR decided to launch these cases, one in the Pretoria High Court and one in the Johannesburg High Court.

“It is very sad and heart-breaking to be evicted from your home, the only place you know and have ties to, it is even worse when this is done by a family member,” said Nomthandazo Dhlamini, the Applicant in one of the matters.

Support for these matters is generously provided by the German Embassy.

For further information, contact:

Louise du Plessis, Head of the Land & Housing Programme; or

Nothando Shongwe, Land & Housing Programme

Tel: 012 320 2943

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