In South Africa: No Money, No Justice

24 03 2009

Woodstock Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Release
Wednesday 24th of March, 2009

In South Africa, if you are poor your right to justice through the legal system is often denied. If you don’t have money for lawyers its hard to get justice. Therefore, the law is for the rich because they have ample money to buy ‘justice’. Landlords who have money can afford to try and evict people continuously by accessing the courts and paying the best lawyers to throw people out of their houses. In South Africa, communities don’t have money to continuously go to court to fight for, what should be, their basic rights. In the legal system, you are discriminated against if you are poor.

Take the example of Gympie Street. The landlord has taken the residents of Gympie Street to court over and over in order to evict them. This seems to be a strategy to drain the community of resources, so that in the end they won’t have any money to pay for lawyers and gain access to the courts and resist anymore. Indeed, the people of Gympie Street have already spent more than R 45 000 on legal costs. This is outrageous considering that the people of Gympie Street are already poor. The legal costs of Gympie Street also show no sign of slowing. The landlord has now taken two houses in the Street to court again. Each household now has to come up with R 8 000 each for legal costs in order to defend their right to decent housing. This is going to be very difficult considering these households are impoverished. Obviously, targeting these two households alone is a tactic by the landlord to divide the community and place the financial burden of the legal costs onto these two families. No doubt the landlord plans to use this tactic to pick each household off one by one. In the end, the landlord wants every household to be drained of the little resources that they have, so he can kick them out of their houses.

The case of the two households has been set for the 7th of April. We call on all social movements, trade unions and NGOs etc. to come to the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on the day in solidarity with Gympie Street.

For more information or if you wish to provide any kind of assistance contact:

Willy Heyn (Woodstock Anti-Eviction Campaign) 073 144 3619




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