PRESS STATEMENT| Madibeng Magistrates’ Court Dismisses an Application to Evict a Women Headed Household

Date: 04/04/2022

On 23 March 2022, the Madibeng Magistrates’ Court handed down a judgment that dismissed an eviction application brought by the Madibeng Local Municipality.

The municipality sought to evict a woman-headed household from an informal settlement in that area. Our client moved to the informal settlement with her two children, one with special needs. The family was renting in the township nearby until the husband (the breadwinner) left his family without a trace. Our client, unable to pay rent approached the municipality and asked for them the allocate her stand in the informal settlement. The municipality did not respond to her request. Out of desperation, our client put together her last money and built a structure in a vacant part of the informal settlement. The municipality then brought an eviction application against her.

Our client then approached Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) for assistance with defending the eviction. LHR’s grounds of defense was that it would not be just and equitable to evict a woman headed household without the provision of alternative accommodation and that the municipalities’ role is to progressively realise the right to housing and not to act regressively by instituting an eviction that will render a vulnerable family homeless. LHR went further to make a counterapplication requesting that the Court direct the municipality to provide running water, ablution facilities and electricity.

The Court found that it would not be just and equitable to evict our client because it is a woman headed household with a child with special needs, more so because the municipality provided a report to say there was no alternative accommodation for our client and her family.

LHR’s Land and Housing Programme’s attorney, Deborah Raduba said, “while we are relieved that the Court dismissed this eviction application against our client, we are concerned that the Court did not make any findings on our counterapplication for the municipality to provide our client with basic services.” LHR is seeking to appeal the judgment on these grounds.

For further information, please contact:

Deborah Raduba, Attorney

012 320 2943 / 064 647 4719

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