Media Release: Dated: 24 April 2020
Today, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) facilitated a meeting between the City of Johannesburg (COJ) and legal representatives of the residents of Lawley Extension 4 and 5 to explore whether there was any scope for a mediated solution between the parties.
This follows a highly fruitful and cordial meeting between the SAHRC and the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Cllr. Geoffrey Makhubo, on Thursday, 23 April 2020.
Following a meeting between representatives of the City and the legal representatives of the residents of Lawley, the parties have agreed as follows:
- The City of Johannesburg will address questions of homelessness which may have ensued by providing temporary shelter to the affected residents. This is subject to a verification process to be overseen by the Commission.
- The legal representatives of the residents will furnish the City of Johannesburg with the profile of the occupiers (details and personal circumstances) to assess their needs and ascertain the degree of emergency or desperation that drove people to occupy government-owned land. This verification process will also be overseen by the Commission.
- The City has agreed to halt demolitions in Lawley for the duration of the lockdown but will continue to monitor the area to prevent any acts of invasion and illegal occupation. This in line with the Court Interdict granted in favour against any illegal occupation and invasion in Lawley.
- Parties have agreed that there should not be any further land invasions as it undermines the City’s planning and limited resources. It further undermines the rights of other law-abiding residents who patiently and legally remain on the housing waiting list.
- The City will decide on the time, manner and conditions of resettlement and relocation after a verification process under the auspices of the Commission.
The City of Johannesburg and the Commission will embark on a joint inspection of the area this afternoon and will continue to work together to find a lasting solution to the situations.
“As the City, we welcome the engagement by the Human Rights Commission and are hopeful that working together we can tackle the challenges of homelessness and the provision of shelter within the City. There are massive challenges and to meet the demands, we cannot allow unplanned growth and development of the city” said Mayor Makhubo.
For Media Enquiries
Director: Mayoral Communications
083 480 0014
Mr. Buang Jones
Provincial Commissioner – Gauteng
South African Human Rights Commission
078 617 0476