October 14 2009 at 11:57AM – SAPA
The Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday that a law that would have allowed mass evictions in KwaZulu-Natal was unconstitutional.
“I conclude that section 16 of the Slums Act is inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid,” said deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke.
The Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement SA, an association working for the improvement of living conditions of shack dwellers, had argued that certain provisions of the KwaZulu-Natal Elimination and Prevention of Re-Emergence of Slums Act, 6 of 2007 were unconstitutional.
The High Court dismissed its application, causing it to appeal to the Constitutional Court.
The association, with a 20 000-strong membership, argued that the act does not deal with housing, but with land and land tenure – matters that fall outside the legislative competence of the province.
It also argued that a section of the act that requires owners of property and municipalities to evict unlawful occupiers in certain circumstances was inconsistent with section 26(2) of the Constitution.
This section obliges the State to take reasonable measures to achieve the right of access to housing.
Also, the association argued that the wide discretion given to municipalities under the Act with regard to the upgrading of certain settlements, eviction of certain unlawful occupiers, and provision of alternative accommodation for people who have been evicted, was unconstitutional.
The Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement SA said the act was in conflict with the National Housing Act read with the National Housing Code. – Sapa