[Press Release] Pretoria High Court prevents Anglo American from evicting 34 families

In 2013 Anglo American served 34 families with notices of eviction. These families were given two months to vacate homes that they have been occupying, for some families since 1976. Anglo American, did so without considering that these families maybe rendered homeless.

The mining company has argued that they do not own the houses occupied by these families but lease them from Eskom. Since well the families no longer work for the company, they have to move in order to create space for the employees of Anglo American Coal.
On the 2nd of August 2016, Anglo American was granted the eviction order, this order was given without ensuring that the 34 families were provided with suitable alternative accommodation. The order was also made without any consideration of whether it would be just and equitable to render 34 families homeless.
Today, Lawyers for Human Rights (that represents all 34 families) argued in the Pretoria High Court, for the court to grant the families an appeal on the eviction.
The facts of this case are truly exceptional, given the systematic marginalisation of many communities in South Africa due to urban migration. The fact that the families are no longer workers of Anglo American Coal, does not mean that they now have to be homeless, these properties were allocated to them by Anglo American Coal to curb the company’s transportation costs. The families are intimately connected with the local area, and have known little else for most of their lives. Just because they no longer work for the mining company, does not mean that their lives have reached a sell-by date.
It is also important to note that this is no ordinary eviction application as it involves families who have migrated from their homes seeking employment in mining towns, It is now well established that the judicial function in an eviction application is to take into account all the relevant circumstances and then make a “value judgment” on whether the eviction application would be “just and equitable”.
Anglo American consented to the appeal being upheld, meaning the eviction order issued by the Kriel Magistrate Court is dismissed.  The families will stay in their homes until the parties engage meaningfully and seek a holistic solution to the insecure tenure of these families. So much for “real people, real mining, real difference”

For more information please contact Tarisai Mugunyani on 012 320 2948 or Carol Mohlala on 079 238 9826