The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (Seri) on Monday announced it had launched a damages claim against the City of Joburg.
The body said the claim, worth R120 million, was on behalf of the 1 652 informal traders who were evicted from their places of business around the inner city by the Joburg Metropolitan Police Department in 2013, during Operation Clean Sweep.
“The traders were evicted despite each having a right to trade in the area, granted through permits issued by the City of Joburg,” Seri’s director of litigation, Nomzamo Zondo, said.
“Without warning or explanation, they were removed from the streets in a mass eviction operation. “Many were assaulted and had their goods trashed. All lost large quantities of valuable stock.” In December 2013, the Constitutional Court put an end to Clean Sweep, calling it an illegal act of “degradation”.
It directed the city to permit the traders to return to their places of business. “Despite repeated demands, the city has neither apologised to the traders, nor offered to compensate them for their losses,” Zondo said. “Seri has been instructed to turn, once again, to the courts for relief.”