VUT Law Clinic hosts second annual community outreach
By: Selina Rapulane – 06 October 2023
The MMC for Human Settlement and Development Planning at Sedibeng District Municipality, Councilor Mmadisebo Khomoeasera addressing the community and noting their concerns.
On the 29 September 2023, the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) Law Clinic held its second Annual Community Outreach at the VUT Southern Gauteng Science and Technology Park, in Sebokeng. Launched in 2022, The event sought to address the socioeconomic and environmental development challenges faced by the Southern Gauteng community and to also educate them on issues such as property registrations, property transfers, and deceased estates.
The VUT Law Clinic chose this topic for their event as they regularly get an influx of people who are facing evictions or dealing with other serious housing issues, such as landlord harassment, fair housing discrimination, or hazardous conditions. The Clinic saw a need to bring together stakeholders that could assist them and everyone who is affected by this matter, to understand their rights and advocate more effectively for themselves when reviewing a lease, requesting necessary maintenance, and other housing situations.
The provision of adequate housing to lower- and middle-income South Africans has been a highly emotive and politicised topic throughout the history of South Africa. The MMC for Human Settlement and Development Planning at Sedibeng District Municipality, Councilor Mmadisebo Khomoeasera addressed the community and noted their concerns. “I would like to thank the VUT Law Clinic for creating this platform to engage with the community and discuss their housing challenges. As Human Settlement, our mission is to promote and sustain integrated service delivery that enhances and supports the municipality to achieve growth and development for its community. Currently, we have about thirty-two thousand approved beneficiaries that have not yet received their houses and we are doing our level best to ensure that all applicants receive their houses”, commented Councilor Khomoeasera.
She further commented that, “I am going to appeal to the VUT Law Clinic and Legal Aid to make a day where we advise people about drafting of wills, because this is one of the challenges that the community is faced with when it comes to issues of beneficiaries of RDP houses. Applicants tend to take birth certificates of other people’s offspring and when they pass away, those offspring would claim the right to the house, evicting the biological children of the deceased. I am very pleased about this platform and I believe we should do more to ensure all communities are aware of their right to adequate housing”.
The community attended the event in huge numbers with the hope that their housing matters will finally be resolved. Their concerns ranged from rental disputes, unlawful evictions, title deeds and land claims. One resident from Sebokeng, who asked to remain anonymous, mentioned that she has been chased out of the family house and she felt that it was unlawful of her uncle to do that. “My family disputes started when my grandmother passed away. As she left no will, my uncle took over everything and I was told to find my own place. Attending this event today brought me so much comfort as I realized that I am not the only one facing such challenges. I will engage more with the Law Clinic and hopefully, they will direct me to the right people to help”, she mentioned.
The event was supported by departments that are well-suited to assists with issues raised by the community members.
From Monday to Friday during working hours, the Law Clinic offers free consultations to the public on the following matters:
- Domestic Violence
- Children’s Court matters
- Family matters
- Labour Law
- General Civil Litigation.