Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Jo-burg can evict squatters

A court ruling in Johannesburg gives the city the right to evict squatters from buildings it deems unsafe, the Johannesburg News Agency reports.

The Supreme Court of Appeal decision allows the government to evict approximately 300 people from six buildings in the inner city that it argues are unsafe and unhealthy. The court ruling does, however, require the city to provide temporary relocation housing for the people it evicts.

The question of course is this: speculators have long used allegations that buildings are unsafe or dangerous to push low income people out. City officials have often colluded in those actions. Why not require the city to make the buildings habitable and fix violations rather than summarily ejecting the residents?

3 comments:

sikes said...

Not really surprizing, as it is the court of capitalism and their state that made a ruling here. Social conflict cannot be settled in court, it requires political decision rather than juridical ones.

The 'new' south africa is more and more disappointing to me. Has the ANC forgotten its socialist roots?

rn said...

Great question, sikes.

Before I became a writer, I worked as a community organizer, and I always found myself arguing with folks whose first instinct about any issue was, "Let's sue the bastards."

Though court actions are sometimes useful and, indeed, necessary, going to court is fundamentally anti-organizational. People automatically say, "Well, we don't have to do anything now. Our lawyers will fight for us."

So they sit back and wait instead of acting in the political arena.

sokari said...

See Review of African Blogs on Pambazuka News:

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/blog/40572