Does a right to access to adequate housing include a right to the city in South Africa?
Martin, Carmenito Marcelle
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The Constitution of South Africa is often commended for the protection that it affords to socio-economic rights - including the right to access to adequate housing, 'Adequate' housing is said to comprise of more than just a roof over one's head, and requirements have also been set regarding the overall location of the housing provided. Processes such as 'gentrification' have presented a threat to the fulfilment of the abovementioned right. Gentrification results in escalated property prices in the areas undergoing gentrification, with original residents of these areas consequently being unable to afford to stay in these areas and facing possible eviction as a result thereof. Although legislation is in place to prevent homelessness for those facing eviction, individuals who stand to be evicted often find themselves being relocated to state-provided Temporary Relocation Areas (TRAs). As particularly evident in Cape Town, these TRAs are commonly located on the outskirts of cities (arguably in defiance of the Constitution's requirement in terms of the location of adequate housing), and those who have been relocated to these TRAs commonly criticize the remote locations of these TRAs (due to it being far from employment opportunities and other amenities). This has led to a continued demand by individuals facing eviction to TRAs (and advocacy groups) for the state to provide them with alternative accommodation in the inner city and surrounding areas, resembling a 'Right to the City'.