Says the right to housing is a human right recognized in international human rights law and that evictions would result in massive homelessness that will affect surrounding communities, families and children
The Leader of Opposition (LOO), Dithapelo Keorapetse, has sought intervention from Ditshwanelo concerning the impending evictions of ex-BCL miners from their houses.
As the end of September deadline approaches for the tenants to express their willingness and demonstrate their financial capacity to purchase the houses, Keorapetse expressed concern. He emphasized that unless a special provision is introduced, the ex-BCL employees face significant losses, with many potentially becoming homeless.
“The motion urging the government to intervene by introducing a special housing welfare scheme for the former employees to buy the properties was rejected by Parliament. Despite having written two letters to the President regarding the requests of the former BCL workers, I’ve received no response. Thus, I firmly believe this is a human rights issue. The potential evictions could lead to extensive homelessness, impacting numerous individuals, families, and children. Many parents living in BCL houses have school-aged children. The potential disruption to their education, especially with end-of-year and exit examinations imminent for Standard 7, and Forms 3 and 5, is alarming,” Keorapetse wrote in his letter to Ditshwanelo.
The right to decent housing
The LOO further noted that the right to decent or adequate housing is an internationally recognized human right, forming part of the right to an adequate standard of living, as mentioned in Article 25 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “I implore you to intervene, possibly preventing the liquidators and the government from evicting BCL house tenants. Such actions would infringe upon their and their children’s rights. Without intervention, we could be on the brink of a humanitarian crisis. Executing the planned evictions would contravene our Constitution, the Children’s Act, other legal instruments, and international standards,” he stressed.
BCL houses for sale
Earlier this year, the BCL liquidator decided to sell BCL houses in Selibe-Phikwe. To mitigate the adverse effects of the mine’s closure on former BCL employees, they were given priority and a three-month period until the end of September to express interest and showcase their financial capacity to purchase these properties. Yet, Keorapetse labeled the liquidator’s asking price as prohibitively high for the former BCL workers.
Special housing welfare scheme
In his ongoing efforts to assist the tenants facing potential eviction due to financial constraints, Keorapetse proposed a motion urging the government to introduce a special housing welfare scheme. However, this motion was dismissed by Parliament. Consequently, Keorapetse appealed to President Mokgweetsi Masisi for intervention. To date, he laments having received neither an acknowledgment nor a response to his letters.