More than 300 destitute people of South Africa's Johannesburg city are currently facing eviction from their squats. The move is part of Johannesburg's inner-city regeneration programme ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Two stadiums are being readied for the tournament.
The process, which has been stalled over the past year, resumed after the Supreme Court of Appeal recently ruled that the city can evict 300 squatters from its six inner-city buildings under the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act.
The law enables the city to prevent people under its jurisdiction from living in unsafe buildings. The Supreme Court also ordered the city to offer those evicted relocation to a temporary settlement area.
According to the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at Wits University, Johannesburg, a high court ruling in March 2006 banned mass evictions of poor people from inner-city buildings without the provision of alternative accommodation. The court had then argued that the evictions would render them homeless. The city subsequently lodged an appeal.
The move is a part of the city's redevelopment plan that involves construction of new hotels and apartment blocks ahead of the World Cup. According to a report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the ruling paves the way for similar evictions in the 10 cities that will host cup games. An estimated 67,000 squatters live in the country's 235 inner-city buildings.
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