16 October 2013

ProBono.org Celebrates World Habitat Day

SAHA staff member giving a presentation on access to information at a ProBono event on 16 October 2013This year Pro-Bono.org celebrated World Habitat Day on 16 October 2013, by hosting a housing information day themed "Responsible Urban Living".

Following a recent successful series of Housing sector workshops, SAHA's Freedom of Information Programme (FOIP) was invited to give a short presentation on the importance of access to information in the Housing sector at the event. 

The event attended by various NGO's, government departments and agencies saw a wealth of knowledge being shared around housing matters, ranging from: ownership, transfers, title deeds registry, rent, bank home loans and RDP house allocations. This event not only spoke to theoretical aspects of housing, but attendees could also be assisted by advocates, attorneys and mediators who provided practical assistance with participants.

At the core of the event was the need for access to information and in particular access to personal information relating to housing, to be enable attendees to exercise their right to adequate housing.

After SAHA's presentation participants were eager to learn how to access information and in particular how to use the Promotion of Access to Information Act, (PAIA) 2000 to access information.

Attendees indicated they need information to assist with housing issues and other matters including: electricity, housing allocation and evictions, unemployment, health and safety and security. Participants have since the event approached SAHA for assistance to access their personal information.

ProBono.org and SAHA are exploring a closer partnership to ensure that individuals gather as much information as possible for legal assistance. This partnership would enable parties to assess the case better prior to legal action being taken.