The barriers to justice are extremely high, particularly for poor and working class people, both in terms of cost, but also in terms of limited capacity for public interest litigation, and consequently, limited access to the courts. Historically, paralegal advice offices played a significant role in ensuring some access to justice, but funding cuts have closed the majority of them. The limited access to free legal services is particularly dire in Cape Town, where public interest litigation NGOs operate with limited human resources.
Ndifuna Ukwazi offers a legal practice of activists, human rights campaigners and lawyers that is responsive to the socio-economic needs and struggles of poor and working class communities in Cape Town. We provide accessible and specialised legal services to individuals, social movements and community-based organisations from poor and working class communities on matters concerning the advancement of socio-economic rights and associated matters of public interest.
On 11 April 2016, Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre filed papers in the High Court on behalf Mrs Thozama Adonisi and other supporters of Reclaim the City, requesting an urgent hearing to interdict the Western Cape Provincial Government from selling the Tafelberg School site in Sea Point.
The Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works settled in this matter, made an order of Court on 5 May 2016 and agreed to pay costs. Download here.
The Social Justice Coalition, represented by the NU Law Centre, launched the case for permanent sanitation infrastructure in Cape Town’s informal settlements on Friday 1 July 2016 in the Equality Court and Western Cape High Court.
The case challenges the provision of temporary sanitation solutions in Cape Town’s informal settlements, seeking an order, in the form of a structural interdict, which will compel the City of Cape Town to adequately budget and plan for the provision of improved access to sanitation in the City’s informal settlements.
The case aims to affirm the equal rights to quality sanitation, and basic services in general, of Cape Town residents who reside in informal settlements.
Residents living in informal settlements in Khayelitsha and other parts of Cape Town are permanent residents of our city. The City of Cape Town needs to acknowledge this, and must plan for, and implement sanitation services accordingly, instead of claiming that their hands are tied and reverting to inadequate, temporary solutions.
High Court application
High Court application, sitting as an Equality Court
Annexures for both applications
PM14: Map of Enkanini
PM15: Map of CT Section
The Bromwell Street families living in Woodstock, Cape Town stand to be evicted from their homes. They have nowhere to go, and will be rendered homeless.
On 20 September 2016, the Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre, representing the Bromwell Street families, brought an urgent application before the Western Cape High Court to compel the City to meaningfully engage the tenants and to provide them with temporary alternative accommodation.
The City does not believe that it has an obligation to assist tenants with the provision of temporary accommodation in the aftermath of evictions initiated by a private party.The law centre requested that the eviction be stayed, until the court has ruled on the City’s obligation to provide the residents with temporary accommodation.
Cape Town is in the midst of a housing and segregation crisis. No state funded inner city affordable housing has been built since the end of apartheid. The state continues to sell off prime public land, suitable for housing delivery, to private sector property developers. Poor black African and coloured families continue to be priced out, evicted and removed from Woodstock and other inner city neighbourhoods.
This application will seek to affirm the City’s obligation to Bromwell Street’s families, a principle which should extend to other working class people who face eviction and removal from their homes. It should pave the way for an overdue program to provide evictees with temporary alternative accommodation, as near as possible to the homes from which they are evicted.