The protection of the right of access to adequate housing by the South African Constitutional Court

Radebe, Sibusiso Blessing (2013-03)

Thesis (LLM)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Bibliography

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The South African history of colonialism and apartheid created a massive housing crisis, and a basic service delivery deficit for the majority of people. Since the dawn of democracy, the current government has been trying to address this housing crisis and basic service delivery deficit. At the heart of the challenge created by this housing crisis, is the transformative vision of the Constitution and the proper role of courts, especially the Constitutional Court as the final arbiter of the rights protected and guaranteed in the Constitution. The central objective of this thesis is to investigate the extent to which the Constitutional Court has given substantive content to the right of access to adequate housing, particularly in the context of the positive duties arising out of this right as entrenched in section 26(1) and (2) of the Constitution. To this end, the history and present state of housing for residents of informal settlements, and those in inadequate housing, including the challenges presented by housing delivery, are explored. This thesis seeks to explore the concept of transformative constitutionalism, particularly its significance in relation to the right of access to adequate housing. The thesis goes on to trace the origins, strong and weak points of the reasonableness review model used by the Court to adjudicate the positive aspects of socio-economic rights, in the context of the right of access to adequate housing. This is followed by an examination of how housing as a human right has been interpreted and enforced in international, and comparative law. I then analyse the major housing jurisprudence of the Court, and suggest tentantive solutions towards redressing some of the impediments standing in the way of a substantive interpretation of the right of access to adequate housing. It is found that the Court has developed the substantive content of section 26(3) through the development of various procedural, and substantive protections of this right, including an expansive meaning of the requirement of justice and equity, requiring judicial oversight in all sales in execution against peoples’ homes, creative remedies such as mediation, joinder of a relevant municipality in eviction cases, meaningful engagement, and alternative accommodation as components of the requirement of justice and equity that would have to be met for an eviction to be lawful. In contrast, in the context of the positive duties imposed by section 26, the Court has adopted the reasonableness model of review without elaborating on the nature and scope of the right of access to adequate housing, and the values and purposes protected by this right in international law, and comparative law. Therefore, a relatively weak standard of judicial review is adopted by the Court when it adjudicates the negative duties of the right, as opposed to when it adjudicates the positive duties imposed by the right.This thesis proceeds to explore how the substantive interpretation of the right could be enhanced through following the methodology for interpretation of rights in the Bill of Rights prescribed in section 39(1) of the Constitution.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Suid-Afrikaanse geskiedenis van kolonialisme en apartheid het 'n massiewe behuisingskrisis, en 'n tekort aan basiese dienslewering vir die meerderheid van mense geskep. Sedert die aanvang van demokrasie, poog die huidige regering om die behuisingskrisis en tekort aan basiese dienslewering aan te spreek. Aan die hart van die uitdaging wat deur hierdie behuisingskrisis geskep is, is die transformerende visie van die Grondwet en die behoorlike rol van die howe, veral die Konstitusionele Hof as die finale arbiter van die regte wat in die Grondwet beskerm en gewaarborg word. Die hoofdoel van hierdie tesis is om ondersoek in te stel na die mate waartoe die Konstitusionele Hof substantiewe inhoud gegee het aan die reg op toegang tot geskikte behuising, veral in die konteks van die positiewe verpligtinge wat voortspruit uit hierdie reg soos verskans in artikels 26(1) en (2) van die Grondwet. Om dit te bereik, word die geskiedenis en huidige stand van behuising vir inwoners van informele nedersettings, asook dié in ontoereikende behuising, ondersoek met inbegrip van die uitdagings wat deur die lewering van behuising gestel word. Hierdie tesis poog om die begrip van transformerende konstitusionalisme te ondersoek, vernaam die belang daarvan met betrekking tot die reg van toegang tot geskikte behuising. Daarbenewens, ondersoek hierdie tesis die oorsprong, asook die sterk en swak punte van die Hof se model vir redelikheidshersiening om die positiewe aspekte van sosio-ekonomiese regte te beoordeel, in die konteks van die reg op toegang tot geskikte behuising . Hierop volg 'n ondersoek na hoe behuising as 'n menslike reg in internasionale en vergelykende regskontekste geïnterpreteer en afgedwing kan word. Ek analiseer ook die hoof behuisingsregspraak van die Hof ten einde voorlopige oplossings voor te stel met betrekking tot die regstelling van sommige van die hindernisse tot 'n substantiewe interpretasie van die reg op toegang tot geskikte behuising. Ten slotte, word daar gevind dat die Hof substantiewe inhoud aan artikel 26(3) gegee het deur die ontwikkeling van die prosedurele en substantiewe beskerming van hierdie reg, insluitend 'n uitgebreide begrip van die vereistes van geregtigheid en billikheid wat geregtelike oorsig in sekere omstandighede vereis: alle verkope in eksekusie teen mense se huise, kreatiewe remedies soos bemiddeling, die noodsaaklike voeging van munisipaliteite tot uitsettings , sinvolle betrokkenheid, en die voorsiening van alternatiewe akkommodasie as ‘n komponentvan die vereiste van geregtigheid en billikheid wat nagekom moet word vir 'n uitsettingsbevel om regmatig te wees. In teenstelling, met betrekking tot die positiewe verpligtinge wat deur artikel 26 opgelê word, het die Hof die model vir redelikheidshersiening aangeneem sonder om uit te brei op die aard en omvang van die reg op toegang tot geskikte behuising, en die waardes en doelwitte wat deur hierdie reg beskerm word in internasionale en vergelykbare regskontekste. Gevolglik is 'n relatiewe swak standaard van geregtelike hersiening deur die Hof vasgestel wanneer dit die negatiewe verpligtinge van die reg beoordeel, in teenstelling met wanneer die positiewe verpligtinge van die reg beoordeel word. Hierdie tesis poog om vas te stel hoe die substantiewe interpretasie van die reg bevorder kan word ingevolge die metodologie vir die interpretasie van die regte in die Handves van Regte soos voorgeskryf in artikel 39(1) van die Grondwet.

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