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Fundamina

On-line version ISSN 2411-7870

Abstract

MULLER, Gustav. The legal-historical context of urban forced evictions in South Africa. Fundamina (Pretoria) [online]. 2013, vol.19, n.2, pp. 367-396. ISSN 2411-7870.

The aim of this article is to place forced evictions in their legal-historical context by analysing the rural and urban land tenure measures used during apartheid to limit the nature and duration of black people's tenure. The hypothesis of this article is that the homelessness and extensive housing crisis in present-day South Africa have their origins in the apartheid era, when government's rural and urban land tenure measures, together with private owners' common-law remedies, led to large-scale forced evictions. A renewed appreciation of the legal-historical context of forced evictions should enable the courts to understand the social and historical context of section 26 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 and the Prevention of Illegal Evictions from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 18 of 1998. This limited historical study places forced removals and the demolition of homes in the context of apartheid land law. The description and analysis of legislation and case law are limited to the period between 1913 when the Black Land Act was enacted and 1994 which marked the official end of apartheid.

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