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People cannot be said to have their human rights respected by a state if they are deprived of adequate housing. The right to housing is very important in South Africa, where so many people live without proper housing in shack settlements.

Since 1994, numerous South African grassroots-based social movements, including Abahlali baseMjondo (Shack Dwellers' Movement) and the Social Justice Coalition have taken the government to task for the lack of housing. Their cause is premised on this section, which protects the right of all citizens to adequate housing.

In the case of the Government of the Republic of South Africa v Grootboom, a group of squatters were being faced with eviction - this case was revolutionary because it established our Constitution as unique internationally in creating a positive obligation on the state to respect socioeconomic rights.

Tragically, however, Irene Grootboom (the woman who had brought the case to Court to lessen the plight of squatters everywhere) died recently while still living in a shack, as the government had still failed to provide her with a house in spite of the judgment.




Everyone has the right to have access to adequate housing.


The state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of this right.

No one may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished, without an order of court made after considering all the relevant circumstances. No legislation may permit arbitrary evictions.

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