Every year, hundreds of families are forced out of their homes by government departments, municipalities, private individuals or corporations. Evictions are a common occurrence in South African cities, informal settlements and townships.
What does the law say about evictions? We need to start with the Constitution, which shapes and gives power to all law in the country. Section 26 of the Constitution says that everyone has the right to adequate housing and that the state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources. Another important part of section 26 states that no one may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished, without an order of court made after considering all the circumstances. The law does not permit arbitrary evictions. This means that before you are evicted there must be a court order. A court must consider how the eviction will affect the people who will be evicted and evictions cannot be done without good reasons.
Tina Schoor, a resident of the Steenvilla social housing complex in Cape Town, gave us this in-depth interview on how evictions have impacted her community.