MAIL & GUARDIAN, JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA Oct 14 2009 13:55 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,” Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke said.
“The appeal is upheld.”
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.
Mbhekiseni Mavuso, general secretary of the Rural Network, which is a member of Abahlali, welcomed the Constitutional Court ruling.
“We are very delighted because this proves that the Constitutional Court does have room for poor people,” Mavuso told Sapa.
“They were thinking because of 2010, they were just going to go out and evict people … but now poor people are protected.”
The association, with a 20 000-strong membership, argued the section of the Slums Act would have forced land owners to evict all shack dwellers by a certain date, regardless of whether they were willing to allow them to live on their land.
It also argued the definition of “slums” was too vague and open. — Sapa