- Civil society organisations have urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to extend the moratorium on executing evictions.
- Ramaphosa addressed the nation this week, announcing Cabinet had decided to terminate the national state of disaster.
- The government put an immediate ban on evictions after the declaration of the national state of disaster.
Civil society organisations have called for an extension of the moratorium on executing evictions following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement to terminate the national state of disaster.
More than 20 groups have written to Ramaphosa and the National Coronavirus Command Council to use empowering legislation to address the crisis of evictions and homelessness.
Ramaphosa addressed the nation this week, announcing Cabinet had decided to terminate the national state of disaster.
The groups calling for the moratorium include Ndifuna Ukwazi, Reclaim the City, Stellenbosch Backyarder Dwellers, the Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education and Women’s Legal Centre.
In a statement, the organisations said the president’s address to the nation was silent on what the state’s position was with respect to the moratorium.
“The last two years have been testament to the importance of the home in the preservation of human life. The reality is, the economic fallout of the pandemic will continue to pose a very real threat to hundreds of thousands of poor and working class families of losing the roof over their heads,” they added.
The organisations warned if the government lifted the ban on evictions, the country would face a secondary crisis of foreclosures, evictions and homelessness in the wake of a global health crisis.
“We are deeply concerned about the continuing illegal evictions and demolitions as carried out by the government – including municipalities across the country – and private actors,” they said.
An attorney at the Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre, Mpho Raboeane, said they were calling for the moratorium on evictions to be extended beyond the lifting of the national state of disaster.
“With the regulations being suspended, people, who have unable to pay their rent or their mortgage payments, are now vulnerable to evictions and homelessness. This is a moral imperative for our society to ensure there is an urgent humanitarian response,” she added.
The government put an immediate ban on evictions when the country entered lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 two years ago.
The City of Cape Town has also been vocal on the declaration of the national state of disaster.
According to the City, following the declaration, it had seen an increase in unlawful occupation as well as a rise in makeshift structures and tented camps being erected throughout the metro.
“The two-year national state of disaster and related economic impact has led to an unprecedented level of homelessness in the city – with many people sleeping in public places, including sidewalks, parks, road reserves, and under bridges.
“Given this situation, an unprecedented response is required to help people off the streets in Cape Town and to ensure the use of public places for the wider public. No person should live on the streets in conditions that are unsafe, unhealthy, and undignified,” it said.