South Africa: ICJ partners with South African Judicial Education Institute to improve judicial officer’s knowledge on housing rights

Today, the South African Judicial Education Institute (SAJEI) and ICJ held a workshop for judicial officers on housing rights in terms of South African and international human rights law.

The workshop, which was held in Johannesburg, was attended 46 participants from South Africa’s 9 provinces. It formed part of a “Human Rights Week For Judicial Officers” run by SAJEI, which on other days also covered “Refugee Rights”, “LGBTI Rights”, and “Gender and HIV”.

The objective of the SAJEI-ICJ workshop was to discuss the role of judicial officers in housing rights cases.

The content of the workshop was collaboratively determined in consultation with magistrates responsible for conducting the training of other magistrates around the country.

It sought to respond to their requests information and resources to assist in their daily decision-making.

The workshop was facilitated by a range of magistrates from around the country and judicial educators at SAJEI.

A keynote address on “Constitutional Imperatives on Rights to Housing” was presented Judge Antonie Gildenhuys, a retired judge who sat both on the High Court and the Land Claims Court in South Africa.

Workshop facilitators drew on a draft manual on housing rights, which the ICJ is working with SAJEI and a working group of magistrates to develop.

The manual’s particular focus is on international human rights standards from a range of sources including the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, general comments of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

It is hoped that, when finalized, magistrates will be able to draw on this manual to assist in their adjudication of housing rights cases.

To assist judicial officers in understanding the challenges faced by communities advocating to prevent unlawful evictions and secure access adequate housing, Mr Thapelo Mohapi (General Secretary of Abahlali baseMjondolo) and Ms Susan Mkhwanazi (Slovo Park Community Forum) were asked to make presentations on their “lived experiences” in attempting to access protection on the right to housing.

Their important insights contributed immensely to the success of the workshop and were well received by the magistrates.

Opening remarks were delivered by Dr Gomolemo Moshoeu (CEO of SAJEI) and Mr Arnold Tsunga (Africa Director of the ICJ).

“We at the ICJ are very happy that the magistrates expressed a desire for more continuous legal education in the area of legal enforcement of economic and social rights given that historically very little attention has been paid to equipping magistrates with requisite information and resources to ensure consistent application of human rights standards in this area,” reflected  Arnold Tsunga after the event.


Timothy Fish Hodgson, ICJ Legal Adviser, t: +27828719905 ; e: timothy.hodgson(a)

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